Section: Latest News

New Robotic Surgery for Less Scarring and a Faster Recovery Time


Santa Rosa, Calif. – June 26, 2017 Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital is excited to offer patients a new, minimally-invasive option for certain urological, cardiothoracic and general surgeries using the latest technology in robotic surgery, the da Vinci® Xi™ Surgical System. By using the da Vinci Xi, the surgeon’s vision is enhanced and he or she is able to maneuver throughout the patient’s body more precisely. With this new technology, patients experience less blood loss, a shorter hospital stay, smaller incisions and a faster recovery. The system was entirely funded through philanthropy. The hospital is grateful to the generous donors of Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital Foundation.

Adam Kaplan, MD, St. Joseph Health Medical Group urologic surgeon and director of robotic surgical services, performed the first procedure using the new robotic system in early April. Dr. Kaplan has fellowship training in robotic urologic surgery from Duke University. One of his first patients to undergo the surgery was Michael Sutton of Windsor. Sutton was referred to Dr. Kaplan by his Primary Care Physician, Robert Schaefer, MD, in November, 2016. Dr. Kaplan diagnosed Sutton with an aggressive form of prostate cancer, and recommended removing the prostate and surrounding lymph nodes in a procedure called a radical prostatectomy.

“It’s not nice to have something cancerous in your body and you want it out,” said Sutton. “I had read about robotic surgery, but had never experienced it. Dr. Kaplan was very straight-forward and laid out the pros and cons. When I learned that he had experience with robotic procedures, I thought that’s the way to go.”

On April 12, 2017, Sutton was admitted to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. During the 2.5 hour surgery, Dr. Kaplan nimbly maneuvered the da Vinci Xi robot’s thin arms and made five very small incisions just above the level of the belly button—all less than 1 cm in diameter—and one slightly larger, 3 cm incision in the midline. The robot’s newly designed joints offered Dr. Kaplan a fuller range of motion than is possible with the human hand, improving his dexterity. The endoscope, which attaches to the robot’s four arms, displayed a high definition, 3D image, enhancing Dr. Kaplan’s vision and he was able to remove the tumor and lymph nodes with wide margins.

“Michael’s operation went very well. His incisions healed a few weeks after surgery, and will be nearly invisible in six months. He was eating, walking and feeling well the evening after surgery,” said Dr. Kaplan, explaining that Michael was able to return home less than two days after the procedure and was back to exercise shortly afterwards.

“We are very excited to offer this cutting-edge, minimally-invasive robotic surgery to Sonoma county patients, like Michael.”

“I thought it was going to be quick and it was. I had some discomfort the following day, but no pain from the surgery,” said Sutton. “I’m not ill, I’m injured and the best way to get better is to exercise. I’ve been walking an hour every day. I like to play golf, and I hope to be back to walking with a golf club in my hand in the near future. I’m extremely pleased with the results and with my care team—the nurses were caring, thoughtful and had a good sense of humor.”

Dr. Kaplan is one of several surgeons on Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital’s medical staff who is trained to use the new robotics platform. Ramzi Deeik, MD, who also has extensive experience with robotic cardiothoracic procedures, has also been performing robotic surgeries at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital since the inception of the program in April. Both Drs. Deeik and Kaplan come with extensive experience in robotic surgery. All other members of the operating room robotic team spent 25 hours of training on the robot over the course of 30 days prior to the first case. To date, surgeries have included prostatectomy (prostate removal), radical and partial nephrectomy (removal of kidney cancer), lung resection (removal of tissue from the lungs), hernia repair and colon resection. For more information, visit

About St. Joseph Health, Sonoma County
St. Joseph Health, Sonoma County is a not-for-profit provider of integrated health care, sponsored by the St. Joseph Health Ministry. Its mission is to extend the healing ministry of Jesus in the tradition of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange by improving health and quality of life in the communities it serves. Entities include the 338-bed Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital (the region’s Level II Trauma Center), the 80-bed Petaluma Valley Hospital, Memorial Hospice, Hospice of Petaluma, North County Hospice, St. Joseph Urgent Care centers, and St. Joseph Home Care Network. The organization’s more than 2,000 local employees offer residents of California’s North Coast a spectrum of healthcare services. These include Family Birthing, Neonatal Intensive Care supported by an affiliation with UCSF, pediatrics, preventive care and health promotion, outpatient behavioral health care, palliative care, rehabilitation, and community benefit programs. Visit to learn more.

About Adam Kaplan, MD
Dr. Adam Kaplan was fellowship trained at Duke University in Endourology and Robotic Surgery. He completed residency and medical school at UC Irvine. He practices in Napa and Santa Rosa. For more information, visit

About Ramzi Deeik, MD
Dr. Ramzi Deeik is committed to excellence in the practice of cardiac surgery in the Sonoma, Napa and North Bay Area. Dr. Ramzi Deeik is a leader in minimally invasive heart surgery and many complex procedures. For more information, visit

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