Firefly Illuminates Cutting Edge Surgery

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RSFH will be one of first in the U.S. to combine Firefly with da Vinci robot for colon surgery

Colon cancer patients being treated through Roper St. Francis Cancer Care will have a new, distinct advantage beginning with the first surgery of its kind in the state of South Carolina on Jan. 2, 2012. Roper Hospital is one of the first centers in the U.S. to utilize a da Vinci robot outfitted with Firefly fluorescence imaging to help make colon cancer surgery less invasive and more precise.

“Robotic-assisted surgery provides surgeons with a higher level of visualization and therefore, accuracy. Now, with the integration of Firefly fluorescence imaging during robotic procedures, surgeons can observe tissue even more clearly, further improving surgical precision,” said Lisa Horvath, director perioperative services, Roper St. Francis Healthcare (RSFH). “The process involves the injection of a fluorescent dye that helps surgeons identify healthy, viable tissue. Using this imaging technology will potentially lower the risk of leaks in the reconstructed tissue and help prevent the need for multiple surgeries.”

The da Vinci Surgical System is a robot-assisted, minimally invasive tool that enables doctors to perform delicate and complex operations through tiny incisions with breakthrough vision, precision, dexterity and control. Firefly will enhance these advantages considerably according to Jorge Lagares-Garcia, MD, who will perform the Jan. 2 surgery.

Dr. Lagares-Garcia is currently the only surgeon in the state certified to proctor and to perform robotic colorectal surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System. He says he will incorporate Firefly technology into as many surgeries as possible.

“Firefly technology will allow the most accurate assessment of the intestine prior to performing very delicate colon surgeries of any kind, improving the quality of the surgery. The ability to use Firefly for this application is especially good news for our patients with colon cancer,” said Dr. Lagares-Garcia. “Beginning in early 2012 Roper Hospital will train other surgeons to use the same technique to enhance their patients’ outcome.”

Surgeons from around the nation will be coming to Roper Hospital to learn from Lagares-Garcia, as RSFH will earn the distinction of being officially named a Colorectal Epicenter Jan. 9, 2012.
“We are honored to have been named among the short list of colorectal epicenters. My goal is to help train enough surgeons that eventually each patient who is a candidate for da Vinci surgery has the opportunity to take that course of action,” said Lagares-Garcia.

Dr. Lagares-Garcia says the advantages of laparoscopic robotic assisted colon surgery include:

  •     Low blood loss
  •     Quicker return to bowel function
  •     Quicker return to normal diet
  •     Shorter hospital stay
  •     Less pain and scarring
  •     Quicker return to normal activities

Roper Hospital and Dr. Lagares-Garcia were assessed for da Vinci epicenter designation based on a rigorous list of criterion, which included:

  •     Host surgeon having completed 100 cases
  •     Teachable, reproducible and effective surgical techniques
  •     Providing host surgeon with the latest generation da Vinci system
  •     Providing dedicated personnel to conduct training
  •     Willingness to work towards being the most highly rated epicenter in the nation

RSFH also offers da Vinci procedures for gynecological surgeries such as hysterectomies, cervical and uterine cancers, uterine fibroids and endometriosis, urological procedures including prostate, bladder and kidney cancers, vesicoureteral reflux and prostatectomy. To find a certified da Vinci physician at RSFH, visit

Dr. Lagares-Garcia practices at Charleston Colorectal Surgery.

The Roper St. Francis Healthcare Mission:
Healing All People with Compassion, Faith and Excellence

Roper St. Francis Healthcare is the South Carolina Lowcountry’s only private, not-for-profit health care system and consists of 95 facilities in seven counties. Member hospitals include Roper Hospital, Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital, Roper St. Francis Mount Pleasant Hospital and Roper Rehabilitation Hospital. Plans to build a hospital in Berkeley County are in progress. Roper St. Francis Physician Partners is a comprehensive network of almost 200 physicians covering primary care and 20 subspecialties.

With more than 5,200 employees, it is Charleston’s largest non-governmental, private employer with an affiliated medical staff of 800 physicians of every medical specialty. Repeatedly ranked among the Top 100 Integrated Health Networks in the nation, Roper St. Francis Healthcare earned more than 160 National Awards recognizing high levels of patient, physician and employee satisfaction. Also in 2011, Roper St. Francis was named among Modern Healthcare’s prestigious list of “Top 100 Places to Work”, was listed among the Top 25 Connected Healthcare System, and contributed more than 78,000 hours of staff time and $47.3 million to benefit 264,000 Lowcountry residents.


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