'The Good Doctor' in real life: Robotic surgery

Robots or high-tech machines have integrated into many types of industries and jobs, and that includes operating rooms as well.

In a recent episode of "The Good Doctor," doctors use a robot during a surgery, while in real life, doctors at NewYork-Presbyterian are perfecting that practice at their own Center for Robotic Surgery.

Wanda Ortiz is back to work and ramping up her exercise every day after recently undergoing heart surgery.

"Pretty much four weeks after the surgery, I was back to work, so that speaks for itself," Ortiz said. "I was very fortunate."

Dr. Stephanie Mick is the cardiac surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center who operated on Ortiz. Her mitral valve, which sits between the left atrium and left ventricle, was stretched out and leaking.

The standard option for surgery would require a sternotomy, cracking open Ortiz's chest, but she was an ideal candidate for robotic surgery.

"The whole point of the robot is to miniaturize our hands to get in there," Dr. Mick said. "What you lack in tactile, you make up in additional visualization."

Robotic surgery allows for incisions that are mere centimeters, compared to six to eight inches for a traditional surgery.

The quicker recovery time is what makes it so appealing to patients -- two to three fewer days and a month at home before returning to work, compared to two months after traditional surgery.

In "The Good Doctor," robotic surgery is used to remove a tumor from the patient's lung, an astronaut preparing for a moon mission. Robotic surgery may sound like sci-fi, but for Ortiz it was the real deal.

"The ability for her to be able to get into such a small space with these instruments and to do the job that she did, she did a fabulous job," she said.

Dr. Mick said that one of the best things about being a heart surgeon is that patients are always very grateful.

"If you can offer them something, maybe they couldn't get elsewhere, that's what makes it even more special," she said.

Don't forget to watch "The Good Doctor," every Monday at 10 p.m. on ABC7.

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