WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Robert J. Dole Veterans Affairs Medical Center unveiled its first robot assistant for surgeries Monday morning.

Robotic-assisted surgeries allow medical staff to provide safe procedures for veterans, shorter hospital stays, less pain post-operation, and diminished use of pain medication, all while lowering the rate of complications.

One of the surgeries performed with the robotic assistant is laparoscopic surgery.

According to Don Vasquez, the general surgeon for the VA Medical Center, laparoscopic surgery is a surgery that is done through small incisions. The robotic assistant will bring this type of surgery a step forward along with several previously unavailable improvements, such as precision and visualization. In addition, the surgeon controls the camera at all times.

Vasquez says that surgery is constantly improving. When it comes to the robotic assistant, it does not do anything by itself. It is still laparoscopic surgery, but it increases the actions and visualization.

“It allows a surgeon to do some things that just simply are a little more difficult to do with the laparoscopic standard approach,” said Vasquez.

According to Vasquez, almost everything done laparoscopically these days is being tried robotically. However, not every surgical case can be done robotically; some still need to be done with open surgery. Patients may also lack qualification, but that’s a discussion to be had between the patient and their surgeon.

Specific training is required to use the robotic assistant and supervision when the time comes for them to use the machine for surgery.