Local Doctor Completes 100th Robotic Surgery

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- John Terrell is a board-certified urologist who's been with Sparks Regional Medical Center in Fort Smith for the past year and a half.

He uses scissors and gauze like other doctors, but he has a tool he said other surgeons in the River Valley don't have: a DaVinci robotic device.

“There's not a robotic system from Tulsa to Little Rock except for here,” Terrell said.

He controls instruments from a console, eliminating any hand tremor a doctor might have while performing a surgery.

“The robot doesn't do anything unless I control it to do it -- so the robot doesn't have a mind of its own,” he said.

Most of the operations he does involve the kidney and prostate, although he said he and his team can perform all urological procedures.

He recently finished his 100th surgery.

“One hundred has just put us on the way to where now we can be a center where people can go and have robotic surgery done and know that we perform a large number of them on a very regular basis, and so it makes me very happy -- it's something we've worked very hard for,” Terrell said.

He said technology hasn't replaced the human touch -- there's still a team of people in the operating room. He said feedback from patients has been positive because one of the benefits of robotic surgery is speedy recovery time.

“They get home a lot quicker and have less recovery time, less pain -- they have only small tiny incisions, a whole lot less blood loss. They're happy,” he said.

Terrell performs surgeries with the robot weekly.

He said there is also robotic surgery device in Northwest Arkansas.