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Natchez doctor reaches robotics surgery milestone

NATCHEZ — Local general surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Flattmann joined an elite group of surgeons when he performed his 500th robotic-assisted surgery on Thursday, Oct. 1, at Merit Health Natchez.

More than 1,395 patients have benefited from robotic-assisted surgeries performed at the hospital. Benefits recognized by those patients may include significantly less pain; less blood loss; less risk of infection; shorter hospital stay; quicker recovery and minimal scarring.

The use of robotic-assisted technology virtually extends the surgeon’s eyes and hands. Using the system, the surgeon operates while seated at a console viewing a 3-D image of the surgical area. The system mimics the surgeon’s hand movements in real time, in a smaller scale, within the operating site in the patient’s body. Benefits recognized by surgeons using the robotic-assisted technology over traditional surgical approaches include greater surgical precision, enhanced visualization, increased range of motion of the instruments and improved access to the surgical site.

This isn’t the first robotic surgery milestone Dr. Flattmann has been involved with at Merit Health Natchez. In December 2018, he performed the hospital’s 1,000th robotic surgery, including surgeries performed by all the surgeons at the hospital.

“Our community is very fortunate Merit Health Natchez invested in technology that integrates robotics and minimally invasive techniques.  The technology is truly incredible and my patients experience less pain and scarring and fewer complications, plus they are back on their feet more quickly.  Every robotic-assisted surgery is exciting to me,” Flattmann said.

“We congratulate Dr. Flattmann on this additional milestone achievement in his robotic-assisted surgery cases,” said Lance Boyd, CEO of Merit Health Natchez. “The robotic surgery program at Merit Health Natchez is making a difference in people’s lives. With our skilled surgeons and exceptional team of Anesthesia, Surgery and Post Anesthesia Care, people in our community can be assured this team is focused on patient safety, care and comfort.”

In addition to Dr. Flattmann, the following physicians perform procedures with the robotic surgery system at Merit Health Natchez: Dr. Christopher Martin, General Surgeon; and Obstetricians and Gynecologists Dr. Frank Guedon, and Dr. Melissa Jones.

The most common procedures using the robotic-assisted system are hernia repairs, gallbladder, colon, single incision surgery and hysterectomies.

“It’s been an amazing journey through these 500 surgeries. I want to thank the community and my patients for their trust in me, as well as our awesome, experienced robotic team in the surgery department at Merit Health Natchez,” Flattmann said.