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Virtua Health is First in South Jersey to Offer World's Most Advanced Surgical Robot

June 12, 2024 - The da Vinci 5 system is only available at 100 leading centers nationwide, chosen by the manufacturer for their robotic-surgery expertise and volume

June 12, 2024

Virtua Health will be the first in South Jersey to use the world’s most advanced robotic-surgery system, called the da Vinci 5. The manufacturer, robotic-surgery pioneer Intuitive Surgical, chose Virtua as one of 100 centers nationwide to offer the new system, due to Virtua’s extensive experience with robotic procedures.

The new system includes more than 150 enhancements, including improved accuracy and precision, enhanced views inside the body, novel force-sensing technology that may reduce trauma to tissue, and better positioning options for surgeons.

“Robotic-assisted surgery can offer many benefits over other forms of surgery, including greater precision, faster recovery, and less pain. The da Vinci 5 incorporates an array of technological advancements, which will propel robotic surgery’s advantages to an even higher level,” said general surgeon Craig Zaretsky, MD, chair of Virtua’s Department of Surgery.

Dr. Zaretsky and other experienced, da Vinci-trained surgeons will start using the new system on June 13 at Virtua Marlton Hospital. At Virtua, the da Vinci 5 will initially be used for robotic hernia repairs, lung and other thoracic procedures, bariatric (weight loss) surgery, and urologic and colorectal procedures.

“Intuitive selected Virtua as an initial da Vinci 5 site based on our robotic-surgery expertise, high number of robotic procedures, and collaboration during the development process,” said thoracic surgeon Matthew Puc, MD, program director of the Penn Medicine | Virtua Health Cancer Program based in Marlton.

Beyond the first 100 centers, the new system will not be available to other providers for another 18 to 24 months, he noted.

At Virtua, surgeons have performed 40,000 robotic-assisted procedures, including 27,000 using da Vinci systems, since starting with the technology in 2006. These include robotic heart and gynecologic procedures and organ transplants, among others.

The health system, South Jersey’s largest, has 74 surgeons with robotic-surgery expertise, including 64 who use da Vinci equipment. (Virtua also uses another robotic system designed specifically for orthopedic surgery, such as hip and knee replacements.) 

“We were an early adopter of robotic techniques, as we saw how beneficial these procedures are for many patients. Over the years, we’ve grown our robotic surgery program exponentially, as more and more patients prefer these procedures,” added Virtua bariatric surgeon Emeka Acholonu, MD.

In the future, Virtua will expand the da Vinci 5 to its other hospitals, and offer it for more types of procedures.

Advantages of the da Vinci 5
The system’s key advancements include:

  • Improved accuracy and precision. Design and engineering enhancements include new surgeon controllers and powerful vibration and tremor controls, making it the smoothest and most precise da Vinci system to date.
  • Enhanced 3D display and image processing. The improved, more natural 3D imaging system enables surgeons to see more during surgery.
  • First-of-its-kind, force-sensing technology. New “Force Feedback” technology and instruments give surgeons the option to measure and feel subtle forces exerted on tissue during surgery. Force Feedback enables surgeons to apply less pressure, which may reduce trauma to tissue. This is the only surgical technology that provides such measurement and feedback.
  • Greater surgeon comfort. The system’s redesigned console offers customizable positioning, so surgeons can find their best fit for surgical viewing and comfort, even adjusting positions during surgery. Options are designed to fit different body types, including surgeons who are pregnant.
  • Enhancements for greater efficiency. Da Vinci 5 provides several technologies to streamline workflow in the operating room and potentially save valuable time, without compromising patient safety.
  • Greater computing power and data capabilities. Da Vinci 5 has more than 10,000 times the computing power of its predecessor, da Vinci Xi. This enables innovative new system capabilities and advanced digital experiences, now and in the future. For example, the system can integrate with other programs and devices for analysis, training, and research.

Virtua provides robotic surgery at all five of its hospitals, and orthopedic procedures are offered at several Virtua-affiliated outpatient surgery centers. For more information, visit or call 888-847-8823.