Author: vegasrobotdoc

Benefits of Robotic Surgery

Dr Johnson new portrait

Robotic surgery, or robot-assisted surgery, allows doctors to perform many types of complex procedures with more precision, flexibility and control than is possible with conventional techniques. Robotic surgery is usually associated with minimally invasive surgery — procedures performed through tiny incisions. It is also sometimes used in certain traditional open surgical procedures.

About robotic surgery

Robotic surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000.  The technique has been rapidly adopted by hospitals in the United States and Europe for use in the treatment of a wide range of conditions.

The most widely used clinical robotic surgical system includes a camera arm and mechanical arms with surgical instruments attached to them. The surgeon controls the arms while seated at a computer console near the operating table. The console gives the surgeon a high-definition, magnified, 3-D view of the surgical site. The surgeon leads other team members who assist during the operation.


Surgeons who use the robotic system find that for many procedures it enhances precision, flexibility and control during the operation and allows them to better see the site, compared with traditional techniques. Using robotic surgery, surgeons can perform delicate and complex procedures that may have been difficult or impossible with other methods.

Often, robotic surgery makes minimally invasive surgery possible. The benefits of minimally invasive surgery include:

  • Fewer complications, such as surgical site infection
  • Less pain and blood loss
  • Quicker recovery
  • Smaller, less noticeable scars

Epigastric & Umbilical Hernias


Epigastric & Umbilical Hernias

Epigastric and umbilical hernias result from a defect or weakness in the abdominal wall between the chest and the belly button. This weakness allows the tissues inside the abdomen to protrude, resulting in a bulge. Umbilical hernias are similar to epigastric hernias, except they form in and/or immediately around the belly button. Epigastric and umbilical hernias are typically present at birth, though often are so small that they go unnoticed. Over time, they can grow in size and become apparent decades later in life.

Epigastric and umbilical hernias will never heal by itself and requires surgery to be fixed. However, most hernias are not dangerous and can be safely managed without an operation. When a hernia becomes symptomatic, usually with pain, nausea, or vomiting, it can represent the signs of a surgical emergency and should be evaluated by a medical provider.

Surgery to fix these types of hernias can be done in various ways and techniques to treat your hernia specifically. Dr Johnson is highly trained in minimally invasive, or laparoscopic surgery as well as the traditional open approach utilizing a small incision on the skin over the hernia. Our experience with these techniques allow us to custom-tailor our surgical approach that suits your particular needs and your particular hernia.

Pancreatic Surgery

Improving treatment for disease of this essential organapp06-slides-ch13_slide_04

The pancreas is a critical organ due to its role in digestive and endocrine function. Surgery for pancreatic conditions addresses either tumors of the pancreas or conditions that cause inflammation (pancreatitis).

Pancreatitis may be either acute or chronic. In either case, the medical team can often manage the patient’s condition medically (without invasive intervention). However, compromised pancreatic tissue can atrophy or become infected. If the condition is severe or longstanding and resists conservative therapy, surgery may be necessary.

Pancreatic tumors are uncommon but may be either malignant or benign. Malignant tumors in this organ, however, bring with them such a serious prognosis that they are one of the leading causes of cancer death. Pancreatic cancer can sometimes be treated through surgery. For more on surgical treatment of pancreatic tumors, see Aria’s Division of Surgical Oncology.

Surgery of the pancreas most often involves removing the diseased portion of the organ. These surgical procedures are major operations, requiring several hours in the operating room. Patients remain in the hospital for about a week after the surgery and will need several weeks to more fully recuperate. Other surgical procedures for pancreatitis include fluid drainage from the pancreas or surgical opening of the pancreatic duct.

In some cases, the surgical team can perform pancreatic surgery laparoscopically. This makes the duration of surgery and recovery shorter.

The pancreas is surrounded by a lattice of nerves and by other essential organs, and is therefore sensitive from a pain-management perspective. Skilled use of pain control is essential for patients suffering from pancreatic conditions or recovering from surgery.

Some patients will require repeat operations to remove all of the diseased areas of tissue resulting form severe pancreatitis. In addition, many patients develop diabetes if they have lost a significant portion of their pancreas to pancreatitis or pancreatic surgery. This may partly or largely resolve, given time.



UntitledWhen you are diagnosed with gallstones, hepatitis, or cirrhosis of the liver, it’s doubtful that you are thinking of the whole system of which the liver and gallbladder are only single parts. While these are hardly insignificant parts, it may be helpful to understand that they are important cogs in a machine known as the hepatobiliary system. This system is essential for digestion and includes the liver, pancreas, bile ducts and the gallbladder.

Several ailments (hepatobiliary disease) can affect this system. Hepatobiliary disease includes a varied group of diseases of the liver and biliary system caused by viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections, cysts and tumors, toxic chemicals, alcohol consumption, poor nutrition, metabolic disorders, and cardiac failure. The two predominant diseases of the liver in the United States are viral hepatitis and cirrhosis; the predominant chronic disease of the biliary system is gallstones (cholelithiasis).

The liver is one of the largest organs in the human body and has many functions including:

  • Processing food and changing it into energy
  • Breaking down toxic substances in the body
  • Storing iron reserves, as well as vitamins and minerals
  • Creating bile, which aids in digestion

The pancreas is an organ behind the stomach and in front of the spine. The two primary functions of the pancreas are to produce fluids to help break down food and to produce hormones that help control blood sugar levels.

The biliary tract consists of the gallbladder and duct system. After being produced by the liver, bile is secreted into the bile ducts and stored in the gallbladder. Bile aids in the digestion of fats.

Often hepatobiliary diseases require surgery as part of treatment. Dr. Matthew Johnson is a Las Vegas Board Certified Robotic Surgeon, specializing in hernia surgery, foregut surgery, and hepatobiliary surgery. He also cares for patients in the fields of general surgery, trauma & acute care surgery, and critical care. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Johnson to discuss your robotic surgery options, call his clinic at (702) 369-7152.

What is ERCP

ERCP_Page_2-1ERCP is a procedure that enables your physician to examine the pancreatic and bile ducts. A bendable, lighted tube (endoscope) about the thickness of your index finger is placed through your mouth and into your stomach and first part of the small intestine (duodenum). In the duodenum a small opening is identified (ampulla) and a small plastic tube (cannula) is passed through the endoscope and into this opening. Dye (contrast material) is injected and X-rays are taken to study the ducts of the pancreas and liver.

Why is an ERCP Performed?

ERCP is most commonly performed to diagnose conditions of the pancreas or bile ducts, and is also used to treat those conditions. It is used to evaluate symptoms suggestive of disease in these organs, or to further clarify abnormal results from blood tests or imaging tests such as ultrasound or CT scan. The most common reasons to do ERCP include abdominal pain, weight loss, jaundice (yellowing of the skin), or an ultrasound or CT scan that shows stones or a mass in these organs.

ERCP may be used before or after gallbladder surgery to assist in the performance of that operation. Bile duct stones can be diagnosed and removed with an ERCP. Tumors, both cancerous and noncancerous, can be diagnosed and then treated with indwelling plastic tubes that are used to bypass a blockage of the bile duct. Complications from gallbladder surgery can also sometimes be diagnosed and treated with ERCP.

In patients with suspected or known pancreatic disease, ERCP will help determine the need for surgery or the best type of surgical procedure to be performed. Occasionally, pancreatic stones can be removed by ERCP.

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