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Robotic technology is now improving colon cancer screenings, saving lives

Robotics: It may be the most dramatic technological development in modern medicine. But when it comes to something like colorectal surgery, it can be scary.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — New technology is changing our world and one place where that is evident is a hospital. Where multiple machines and instruments once filled operating rooms, now you'll find robots, working alongside doctors and nurses.

This amazing technology is now also improving colon cancer screenings and saving lives.

Robotics: It may be the most dramatic technological development in modern medicine. But when it comes to something like colorectal surgery, it can be scary.

"I try to I tell people, you know, C-3PO is not going to come in and do the surgery,” said Dr. Lee Raley, Colorectal Surgeon at CHI St. Vincent.

Dr. Raley has been doing the surgery for over 15 years, but the last few, using robotics, and he has seen a big difference.

“They hurt less,” Dr. Raley said. “They return to a normal lifestyle faster. And it just allows us that that instrument to make very tiny precise movements that we wouldn't be able to make other ways.”

This precision and the advanced techniques for screening for colon cancer are an evolving success story.

“It's why the death rate for colon cancer has decreased for decades,” Dr. Raley said, “because we're finding things earlier when they can be treated.

And in the time of COVID-19, know this necessary surgery is not one that should be put off.

“I tell patients, you know, I mean, I feel safer at the hospital than I do other places out and about sometimes,” Dr. Raley said.

The Gown message is: Get screened, and if surgery is needed, don't let COVID-19 get in your way. Technology is on your side and knowing that the doctor behind that robot has a heart.

“Treating patients the way my family would want to be treated,” he said.