Baylor students were able to sit at the controls of the da Vinci Surgical System, just as doctors do when they perform robot-assisted surgery.  It's the same system Dr. Rob Headrick, a Baylor alumnus, uses at CHI Memorial in Chattanooga.

Dr. Headrick explained, “Up until now, the important part of an operation, whether it involves a tumor, hernia, or bypass, is making a big enough incision to get your hand in, and that's painful. But with this technology, you’re skipping the big incision.” 

Dr. Headrick, a board certified cardiothoracic surgeon at the Buz Standefer Lung Center, says robotics didn't exist when he entered the medical field, and he's thrilled to provide a hands-on experience for tomorrow's surgeons. “Whether they're going to be in math, computer software, or medicine, these are the kids who will do it,” he said.

Dr. Headrick and his team, simulated an actual procedure with Baylor students, working with them as they sat at the surgeon's controls.  They used the da Vinci system's magnified 3D high-definition vision system and tiny wrist-like instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human hand.  For students who see robotics in their future, the experience may be a life-changer.

Dr. Headrick calls the tools the most innovative biomedical advancements available anywhere.  As the integration of biology and robotics changes the way surgeons work to save lives, this event served as great incentive for today's students to consider a career in medicine or engineering.

The thoracic surgery team at CHI Memorial has received a 3-star rating, the highest quality patient outcome rating, only awarded to a small percentage of cardiothoracic programs in the United States.