girl hold teddy bear in hospital bed

Children recover faster with robot assistance

Children who need surgery can heal more quickly from robot-assisted procedures.

“For parents, the desired benefits are less pain and smaller incisions,” said Dr. Jonathan Gerber, a pediatric urologist at UTMB Health.

In January, Gerber removed a 23-month-old girl’s kidney using minimally invasive laparoscopy and robot assistance.

Robot assistance allows the surgeon to place instruments into the abdomen through small incisions while allowing for full range of motion once inside. The surgeon can perform the surgery under intense magnification and 3D visualization that enhances the ability to see the smallest of structures during a surgery.

“UTMB offers this surgical technology while maintaining the highest standards of care,” Gerber said.

Gerber first saw the little girl when she was in the hospital with a urinary tract infection. He discovered an obstructed and nonfunctioning kidney was causing the problem, and that led to his recommendation to remove it.

Instead of a traditional surgery with a large gash to remove the kidney, the robot-assisted laparoscopic procedure created four small cuts. Small incisions mean less pain and quicker recovery.

Parents who are curious about advantages of robot-assisted procedures should know they are available for children and infants and should consider making an appointment to discuss their child’s case.

Dr. Jonathan Gerber

Dr. Jonathan Gerber is a pediatric urologist at UTMB Health.

Pediatric Urology