Robotic technology can provide a surgeon added dexterity and range of motion. With three-dimensional imaging and precision-guided movements, the robotic system allows surgeons to operate through the same small incisions as conventional laparoscopy, but with greater accuracy.
Our Robotic Oncology Center specialists are highly skilled in the use of robot-assisted procedures for kidney, ureter, colorectal, gynecologic and gastrointestinal cancers and to treat heart and lung disease. Each procedure is performed by a team of surgeons, nurses and technicians who are experienced in the use of the da Vinci Surgical System®.
The our cancer surgeons work collaboratively with other specialists from the cancer center and the UC Irvine Health H.H. Chao Comprehensive Digestive Disease Center (CDDC) to provide the most advanced and individualized treatment for each patient.
Learn more about our robot-assisted surgical procedures ›
The UC Irvine Health Robotic Oncology Center is one of the few multidisciplinary robotic oncology centers in the United States and the first in Orange County.
- In 2002, our urologists became the first in Southern California to perform prostate surgery using the da Vinci Surgical System®. One of our highly skilled surgeons developed many innovations for robot-assisted prostatectomy, including refining techniques that improve continence and potency after surgery.
Since then, many of our surgical specialists have used the da Vinci system to treat cancers of the colon and rectum, the heart and lung, the head and neck, esophagus and pancreas, ovaries and cervix, kidney and ureter.
- One of our surgeons recently performed the first robot-assisted thyroid surgery on the West Coast. UC Irvine Health head and neck surgeons are still the only physicians in Southern California who are performing minimally invasive robot-assisted thyroid surgeries, which do not leave a visible neck scar.
- Surgeons are able to perform procedures through the same dime-sized incisions as conventional laparoscopy, but with greater precision, dexterity and a three-dimensional field of vision. As a result, patients experience less pain, a lower risk of infection and faster recovery.
As members of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, our surgeons have access to the latest medical and technological advances. Their patients also may be eligible for therapies and other treatments that are part of ongoing clinical trials.
With each procedure, the surgeons with UC Irvine Health Robotic Oncology Center work to increase their knowledge about the best use of robot-assisted surgical procedures and techniques. They are actively involved in outcomes research in specialties that include gynecology, urology and oncology.
Our highly skilled surgeons also have developed many innovations for robotic prostatectomy, including refining techniques for rejoining the urethra to the bladder, at Orange County's only university hospital.
Urologic oncologist Dr. Thomas Ahlering, the center's director, has developed and patented a specially designed cooling device that is used in conjunction with robot-assisted radical prostatectomies. The cooling device helps protect fragile nerves involved in continence and erectile function.
Published results from the first 109 hypothermia patients found that 96 percent of patients were continent one year after their procedure. That figure compares to 87 percent of patients who did not receive the cooling treatment.
The Robotic Oncology Center's multidisciplinary team includes highly skilled surgeons, nurses and clinical staff who are specially trained in performing robot-assisted procedures.
Our surgeons include:
- Thomas E. Ahlering, MD, MD
- William B. Armstrong, MD, MD
- Robert E. Bristow, MD, MD
- John A. Butler, MD, MD
- Joseph C. Carmichael, MD, MD
- David K. Imagawa, MD, MD
- Jaime Landman, MD, MD
- Jeffrey C. Milliken, MD, MD
- Steven D. Mills, MD, MD
- Ninh T. Nguyen, MD, MD
- Kristine R. Penner, MD, MD
- Alessio Pigazzi, MD, MD
- Leslie M. Randall, MD, MD
- Brian R. Smith, MD, MD