Shelton students try their hands at robotic-assisted surgery

Members of the Shelton High robotic team recently got a feel for robot-assisted surgery.

Griffin Hospital invited the team to special demonstration of its new da Vinci Xi Robotic Surgical System at Enterprise Corporate Towers in Shelton on Jan. 17, allowing the students to operate the state-of-the-art machine that has revolutionized surgical medicine.

The students tried their hand at using the robot’s four “arms” to put small rubber hoops on cones about the size of a finger, and attempted virtual surgeries on the da Vinci simulator. The da Vinci Xi is the most up-to-date, advanced surgical robot offered by Intuitive, Inc.

“I think this is an absolute inspiration to the team,” said school Superintendent Dr. Chris Clouet. “They are very committed to robotics and technology, and this gives them an idea of what sorts of options might be available for them as they become adults.”

For the Shelton High robotics team, the emergence of robotic-assisted surgery opens up new avenues for members to apply their love of machines.

“This is something very new,” said Sydney Youd, a senior and team co-captain. “I never imagined using a robot for surgery — it’s not the first thing I think of — but I can see its advantages, seeing how small the incisions that surgeons need to make, so this robot is definitely helpful.”

The demonstration was held prior to a reception for Griffin’s new robotic-assisted surgery program for hospital supporters, government officials and representatives from local businesses and community groups.

Griffin Hospital President and CEO Patrick Charmel, Dr. John Aversa, Jr., chief of robotic surgery at Griffin, Dr. Philip Minotti, orthopedic surgeon with Connecticut Orthopaedic Specialists, and Dr. Richard Salzano, chief of surgery at Griffin, talked about the uses, benefits and expansion of robotic surgery in healthcare.

Compared to traditional open surgery and conventional laparoscopy, robotic-assisted da Vinci surgery offers patients a number of benefits, including smaller incisions and less pain, shorter hospital stay and recovery time, less blood loss, and less tissue and nerve trauma.

The event is part of Griffin’s multi-phase surgical expansion project, which will enhance its surgical capabilities and expand capacity to better serve the growing number of individuals

across the region that are choosing Griffin Health for their care.

In 2017, Griffin built a new Ambulatory Surgery Suite to increase the number of pre-op/post-op rooms and provide easier access for patients and caregivers. Griffin is now preparing to increase its number of operating rooms from six to seven and building a state of-the-art technology operating room to accommodate robotic surgery cases.

For more information about Griffin’s robotic surgery program, visit