UCLA Health is home to some of the most technologically advanced hospitals in the world, providing an extraordinary opportunity for the advancement of medicine and improving patient care. Our physicians are leaders in a variety of minimally invasive and robotic procedures, some of which are listed below.
UCLA surgeons are using a da Vinci surgical robot to help them perform extremely precise operations through very small incisions. While traditional laparoscopic tools provide a limited range of motion, robotic tools offer greatly improved freedom of motion that is similar to that of the human hand. It is currently used at UCLA for applications such as cardiothoracic procedures, prostatectomy and hysterectomy.
Watch Video: Robotic Surgery for Prostate Cancer
A new breed of robot allows physicians to virtually consult with patients in the UCLA neurosurgery intensive care unit, even if they are miles away. The physician consults with patients, family members and other caregivers in two-way conversations that are face-to-face encounters thanks to cameras built into the robot and the physician's computer.
In addition to the standard (though most-up-to-date) operating-room equipment, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center's 23 ORs are equipped with advanced audio and high-resolution video-conferencing capabilities, so that medical students at home or colleagues around the world can observe surgeries in real time.
Learn more: Inventing the Future (Medicine Magazine)
MR imaging reveals structural and functional properties of both normal and cancerous prostate tissue. At UCLA, four different MR studies are used as needed to obtain the best possible diagnosis and staging.
Learn more: A Better Look at Prostate Tumors
UCLA was the first hospital on the West Coast to install dual-source computed tomography (DSCT) scanners, available at both the Westwood and Santa Monica hospitals. The fastest CT scanners for cardiovascular imaging, DSCT significantly enhances the safety and capabilities of this noninvasive diagnostic tool. The added speed allows radiologists to image the beating heart with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution.
Rapid advances in technology and technique are blurring traditional lines between cardiac surgery and interventional cardiology in the 21st century. At Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, the specialty interventional procedure rooms are all grouped in close proximity with the operating rooms, encouraging collaborations that reduce surgical errors, improve outcomes and decrease costs.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET), invented in the 1970s by Michael E. Phelps, M.D., chair of the UCLA Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, has become critically important for managing patients with cancer, heart disease and neurological disorders. The recent combination of PET and computed tomography (CT) in a single imaging device allows for the simultaneous recording of molecular and anatomical information, resulting in highly accurate disease and treatment response assessments. These assessments guide physicians to the best treatment for individual cancer patients. UCLA clinicians and scientists have pioneered the development and application of PET/CT for cancer patients.
Hip and knee replacements have become fairly routine, providing pain relief, increased mobility and improved quality of life. With today's less-invasive procedures that employ smaller incisions than in the past, new materials and alternative weight-bearing surfaces, and improvements to post-operative pain-management protocols, patients are more comfortable, and rehabilitation is improved.
While the use of minimally invasive surgical techniques in adults was skyrocketing, minimally invasive pediatric surgery lagged behind for several reasons, including the lack of instruments tiny enough for use in children. As the tools have become available, minimally invasive pediatric surgeries have increased dramatically at UCLA. The smaller scars these procedures produce are particularly important for children given that the scar grows along with the child.
A team of UCLA neurosurgeons and head and neck surgeons are helping to pioneer a minimally invasive, endoscopic surgical approach that offers greatly improved visualization and freedom of movement to remove pituitary tumors more confidently and precisely. This breakthrough surgical approach avoids "blind" tumor removal techniques, which can lead to incomplete tumor resections and/or injury to critical adjacent structures.