Mills-Peninsula Newsroom

Newest Robotic Surgery System Comes to Mills-Peninsula

Over the past 20 years, robotic surgery has advanced and redefined surgery across all specialties. Mills-Peninsula is pleased to announce a cornerstone addition to their suite of surgical services with the installation of the new da Vinci® Si robotic surgery system.  The Si system is the latest state-the-art version of the da Vinci®.


While not a robot in the strictest sense, the Si surgery system is a computer-enhanced surgical device that allows a surgeon to view surgeries in high definition 3D while manipulating mechanical arms with micro-instrument tips to perform intricate surgeries with increased stability. Some of the benefits for patients can include a faster recovery, less pain, lower risk of infection and less blood loss and scarring.

“Mills-Peninsula prides itself on offering the latest in medical technology to our patients,” says Mills-Peninsula CEO Bob Merwin. “Adding robotic technology to our suite of surgical services enhances our ability to perform robust minimally invasive surgery with substantial benefits to our patients, specifically faster recovery times so they can return to their daily activities sooner.”

Since the da Vinci® system was installed at the Mills-Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame  in November 2012, more than 45 surgeries have been performed using robot-assisted surgery.  The system can be used for a variety of surgical procedures, including removal of the prostate (prostatectomy), hysterectomies, removal of uterine fibroids (myomectomy), colorectal surgeries, and a variety of cancerous tumor removals (including thoracic, liver, gastric and biliary tumors). 

The da Vinci® Surgical System is comprised of three components: a surgeon’s console, a patient-side robotic cart with four arms manipulated by the surgeon (one to control the camera and three to manipulate instruments), and a high-definition 3D vision system.

The new da Vinci® Si has the ability to perform “single site surgery” using a specially designed robotic arm.  Single site surgery is performed through one small incision, leaving little to no scarring.  The first single site surgery to remove a gallbladder was performed in January, making Mills-Peninsula the first hospital in the San Francisco area to perform this type of procedure.

“Using robotic technology, I am able to offer a level of surgical precision with minimal trauma that is difficult to achieve through traditional open incisions,” says Karen Whang, M.D., FACS. “Incisions made for robotic surgery are quite small, about the size of a dime. With the smaller incisions, my patients typically recover in half the time of traditional open surgery.”

“Working as a traditional laparoscopic surgeon for 20 years, I have seen a lot of advancements but none are even close to this robotic system which is truly a giant step forward in women’s health care,” said Claire Serrato, M.D., an OB/Gyn at Mills-Peninsula’s San Mateo Center. “The technology is such a great advancement over classical techniques, particularly the 3-D viewer and the ability of the robot to rotate instruments better than the human wrist. Using this technology I can offer minimally invasive surgery to many more women in a safe manner. Most of my patients who have myomectomies or hysterectomies robotically can stop taking their pain medicines in a few days or a week.” 

Mills-Peninsula is part of the Sutter Health network.

Contact: Mark Riley, Marketing & Public Affairs, 831-460-6034;

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