Manpreet Grewal

Early in medical school at the University of Cincinnati, Manpreet Grewal MD made the decision to change course. He was no longer interested in becoming an emergency medical doctor but wanted instead to focus his training on abdominal surgery.

During a five-year residency at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL, Manpreet Grewal MD sharpened his skills in colorectal and abdominal procedures. He studied and performed laparoscopic procedures, a less invasive technique that required the surgeon to make smaller incisions and use a tiny video camera to see what was going on inside the patient.

But laparoscopic surgery was just a starting point for Manpreet Grewal MD.

During a one-year surgical residency at the Rhode Island Colorectal Clinic in Providence, RI, Grewal received one-on-one training in robotic surgery from Dr. Jorge Lagares, one of the first colorectal surgeons to begin using the technology during abdominal and intestinal procedures. The training under Lagares opened new doors for Grewal’s surgical skills.

Grewal said there are three components of a robotics procedure that make it superior to a laparoscopic procedure.

The first is the ability to better see the tissue area that is being removed or repaired. During a robotics procedure, the surgeon is viewing a monitor that is projecting a high definition image inches from their face. In a laparoscopic procedure, Grewal says the surgeon is typically looking at a monitor several feet away.

The second benefit, according to Grewal, is the surgeon is not relying on assistants to hold equipment or hand them equipment. During a robotics surgery, the surgeon controls all the elements and does not rely on anyone else.

The final benefit is the increased flexibility a surgeon has when using robotic equipment, Grewal said. Robotics allow surgeons to use their wrists and increases the degrees of flexibility they have to manipulate intricate surgical devices. During a laparoscopic procedure, a surgeon has two long tools inserted in the patient’s abdomen that provide both light and the ability to operate. There is a smaller incision but less flexibility to control equipment.

“Robotics provides an incredible benefit to both the surgeon and the patient,’’ Grewal said. “The technology gives surgeons that ability to take on more complex and longer surgeries.”