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Great Plains Health on target to launch the first robotic surgery program in western Nebraska

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Great Plains Health on target to launch the first robotic surgery program in western Nebraska

Friday, December 20, 2019

Hospital news

CONTACT: Megan McGown, marketing manager ∙ Office: 308.568.7531

North Platte, Neb. December 20, 2019. Great Plains Health is pleased to announce the arrival of the da Vinci Xi Surgical System, the world’s most cutting-edge surgical robotic technology.

“This investment marks the first step in the launch of western Nebraska’s first robotic surgery program and meets several of our strategic objectives including access to quality care and encouraging innovation to meet our region’s needs,” said Mel McNea, Great Plains Health chief executive officer.

The robotic-assisted surgery system, which was funded in part by the generous donors to the Great Plains Health Care Foundation, will be used in North Platte for a wide range of minimally invasive surgical procedures in specialties including general surgery and obstetrics and gynecology. The Great Plains Health program will eventually expand to urology.

With 3D high definition vision and finger-like instruments that work much like a human hand, the system allows surgeons to operate in a highly magnified environment through small incisions. Robotic surgery is a very precise type of laparoscopy that is less invasive than traditional abdominal surgery and has been attributed to faster recovery times, less blood loss, less pain and lower complication and infection rates.

“It’s important to note that even though the system is called a ‘robot,’ it cannot act on its own,” said Ivan Mitchell, Great Plains Health chief operating officer. “The surgery is performed entirely by the doctor guiding the arms and assistants. Essentially, the physicians perform the same procedures they offer now, only with a robotic system that helps them do so.”

“Acquiring the da Vinci Xi was the first phase in the launch of our robotic surgery program,” said Fiona Libsack, Great Plains Health chief development officer. Over the next few months, local general surgeons, select obstetrics and gynecology specialists and their healthcare teams will participate in the second phase of program development -- advanced da Vinci Xi training both onsite and throughout the nation to complement the surgical robotic experience that many of them acquired during their work in other health systems. First procedures on the Xi will occur in North Platte in early February, said Libsack.

“These are exciting times at Great Plains Health,” said McNea. “We are incredibly proud to be the first in western Nebraska to offer this innovative and advanced technology to our community and even more proud to exceed the needs of our patients.”

About Great Plains Health
Based in North Platte, Nebraska, Great Plains Health is a fully accredited, 116-bed acute-care regional medical center serving western and central Nebraska, northern Kansas and north-eastern Colorado. Great Plains Health is a Leapfrog Group Top Rural Hospital, with 90 physicians representing nearly 30 medical specialties. The Great Plains Health system offers advanced healthcare including heart and vascular, cancer and orthopedic surgery services. The independent health system employs approximately 1,087 employees and serves a geographic area spanning approximately 67,832 square miles in 38 counties.
The hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission and is home to an American College of Surgeons-accredited cancer center, primary stroke center and level II bariatric surgery program. For more information, visit

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