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St. Vincent Healthcare Named Montana and Wyoming’s Only Center of Excellence in Robotic Surgery

St. Vincent recently performed its 2,000th robotic procedure



St. Vincent Healthcare, now part of Intermountain Health, has been recognized as Montana’s first Center of Excellence in Robotic Surgery by the Surgical Review Corporation (SRC). This accreditation recognizes that St. Vincent provides patients with the highest quality of care as determined by an independent, external evaluation process from the SRC. 

State-of-the-art robotic technology has been in operating rooms at St. Vincent for over a decade. With recent investments in technology and expertise in general surgery, minimally invasive robotic heart surgery, and biopsy and treatment of lung cancer, St. Vincent has seen exponential growth in robotic-assisted surgeries. It recently performed its 2,000th robotic-assisted operation, with more than 700 procedures performed in the last 12 months. St. Vincent underwent an extensive self-assessment and site inspection to receive this recognition. 

For patients, the benefits of robotic-assisted surgery include fewer complications, reduced blood loss, less pain, and shorter hospital stays. Because robotic technology allows the surgeon to operate less invasively, patients heal faster, with lower risks of infection and less noticeable scarring. 

“Receiving the Center of Excellence is a message to our patients and community that we are investing in the talent and the technology to improve their care,” said Jen Alderfer, President, St. Vincent Healthcare & Wyoming | Montana Market, Intermountain Health. “The improved patient outcomes and benefits to our patients are the main drivers in the growth of our robotic surgery program.” 

During robotic-assisted procedures, a specially trained surgeon controls the movement of camera-equipped robotic surgical equipment by using a console placed next to the operating table instead of physically performing the surgery with their hands.  

From the surgeon’s point of view, robotic technology allows for enhanced precision, flexibility, and control; a better field of visualization; and greater ease when performing delicate and complex procedures than what is often possible with traditional open surgeries.  

“With the robotic technology, we have seen hospital stays reduced from seven days to two days for complex abdominal wall surgeries and very quick overall recoveries compared to open or laparoscopic approaches,” says Dr. Michael Wilcox, a general surgeon at St. Vincent Healthcare.  

To keep doctors up to date on the latest robotic-assisted systems, software, and service components, St. Vincent Healthcare has teamed up with its technology partners to create a robust, comprehensive training program.  

“The robotic surgery program at St. Vincent is used as a part of surgical residencies and a standard of practice in several specialties,”  said Jackie Hines, Senior Director, Surgical & Procedural Services.

“At St. Vincent Healthcare, we are leading the region in robotic usage spanning multiple specialties including general surgery, gynecological, cardiac, thoracic, spine, and more. We look forward to continuing to lead this work into the future by growing our robotic surgery program into even more specialty areas,” said Dr. Jeff Rentz, general surgeon at St. Vincent