MedWatch: FlexDex

Technology is constantly changing the way doctors and nurses keep us healthy, but the latest and greatest often comes with a huge price tag.

A surgeon at Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital found an exception to that rule.

Michelle Dunaway shows us the new tool and explains what it does in this month’s MedWatch report.

“The real advantage of this is it gives me the ability to have a better technically sound surgery,” said Dr. Kent Bowden, D.O.

Dr. Bowden is a surgeon at Munson Healthcare Cadillac.

He says he always wanted to work in a small town.

“But, at the same time, I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself, so to speak, to become just a small town surgeon. I wanted to think big because, at the end of the day, my patients need to have the best care possible,” explained Dr. Bowden.

That is why he was instrumental in bringing this new technology to Northern Michigan. It’s called the FlexDex and it’s helping surgeons provide less invasive laparoscopic surgery.

“There’s a device that actually holds on to your wrist and allows all of your hand motion to translate directly to the tip of the instrument, so it’s the first device that is actually robotic in nature without having any of the expensive work of a robot,” explained Dr. Bowden.

A laparoscopic robot can cost a hospital up to $2 million initially, with a $10,000 maintenance contract every month.

The FlexDex is just $500, and comes with other benefits.

“It kind of evens the playing field and gets into something all general surgeons can use, all gynecologic surgeons can use, all thoracic surgeons can use, all urology surgeons can use, as opposed to specially trained robotic surgeons,” said Dr. Bowden.

It can also be ready quickly.

“If I have a late case, an emergency basis or something like that, I don’t have to call in the robotic team, open up a robotic room and set up a robotic case. I can just ask them while I’m in the procedure to open up the FlexDex, and we have it,” said Dr. Bowden.

This only became available to hospitals in March and Dr. Bowden was one of the very first to use it.

“Currently I’ve used it more than anybody else in the world,” explained Dr. Bowden. “I’m going to do my 50th case, so we’ve been working very closely with the inventors and developers, and we’ve actually worked out how to do the best use for every surgery we’re going to do.”

As the technology grows, surgeons will be able to use the FlexDex for all aspects of surgery, something Dr. Bowden says will just make life better and easier for patients.

“I want you to be able to get world-class care here in smaller institution, so that’s what I’m committed to and that’s the way I approach all of my patients.”

Categories: MedWatch