Lakeland Expands da Vinci Robotic Surgery Capabilities
Sep 25, 2014 Share

(ST. JOSEPH) – Local patients now have more options for minimally invasive surgery as Lakeland grows its da Vinci® Surgical System capabilities in Niles and St. Joseph. The Lakeland Health Board of Directors approved the purchase of two new da Vinci Xi™ Surgical Systems, making Lakeland the first in our region and second in the state of Michigan to have a da Vinci Xi System. Lakeland is the third health system in the country to have two.

The units have been placed at Lakeland Medical Center, St. Joseph and Lakeland Hospital, Niles. The current da Vinci Si™ Surgical System moved to the Center for Outpatient Services, St. Joseph, the only outpatient surgery center in the Midwest to have a surgical robot.

“We are very excited to be the only health system of our size to have three da Vinci surgical robots to assist our surgeons in treating patients,” said Benjamin Stockton, MD, Medical Director of Robotics at Lakeland. “This truly makes us a leader in rapid adoption of safe and minimally invasive healthcare.”

Robot-assisted procedures may offer many benefits to patients, including less pain and blood loss. Minimally invasive techniques using the da Vinci may enable a shorter hospital stay, a quicker recovery, and faster return to normal daily activities. Specially trained local surgeons use the da Vinci to perform bariatric, cardiothoracic, general, gynecological, and urological procedures at Lakeland.

Michael Schuhknecht, DO, Medical Director of Lakeland’s Comprehensive Weight Loss Center and Bariatrics Services, performed the first three surgeries using the new da Vinci Xi system at Lakeland Hospital, Niles. Dr. Schuhknecht and his team also performed the first gastric sleeve procedure and Samuel Durham, MD, FACS, FACC, performed the first thoracic procedure, making Lakeland the first hospital in Michigan to complete both of these surgeries using the Xi system.

“Robotic surgery offers the ultimate minimally invasive approach for patients,” said Dr. Schuhknecht. “As a surgeon, performing procedures using the Xi system provides us with the best of everything including visualization, precise and gentle dissection, and even surgeon comfort.”

Learn more about the da Vinci technology at

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