Robotic-assisted hernia surgery speeds recovery

Dr. Andrew Loveitt with da Vinci Xi robotic surgery system, Riverwood Healthcare Center

Patients in need of hernia repair no longer need to travel to larger cities for robotic surgery. Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aitkin offers state-of-the-art robotic-assisted surgery for hernia repair using the da Vinci® surgical robot.

The general surgeons with the Minnesota Institute for Minimally Invasive Surgery at Riverwood are experienced in using the latest minimally invasive procedures and robotic technology. Five general surgeons—Dr. Andrew Loveitt, Dr. Tim LeMieur, Dr. Howard McCollister, Dr. Shawn Roberts and Dr. Paul Severson—offer hernia care and repair at both Riverwood and Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby. Together, they have dedicated more than 20 years to performing and teaching surgeons the minimally invasive techniques that they perform at Riverwood every day.

The da Vinci is an advanced robotic surgical system that the surgeons use to repair hernias, as well as for other procedures. A hernia occurs when tissue bulges through an opening in the muscles of the abdomen or groin. It can be present at birth, develop over time, or occur at the site of an old incision.

The surgical robot system allows Riverwood’s surgical team to view three-dimensional, high-definition images of the inside of the abdomen, which have been magnified 10 times—bringing together the benefits of laparoscopic surgery with the dexterity of open techniques. This provides surgeons with a higher degree of precision and control, as well as access to hard-to-reach areas, more flexibility, and improved patient outcomes.

In addition to shorter hospital stays, less blood loss, and fewer complications, there are several other benefits of robotic hernia surgery.

“There is less operative trauma with only three tiny incisions, plus less pain and less need for pain medication,” said Dr. Andrew Loveitt. “The end result is that patients can return to work and the activities they enjoy much sooner than if they had an open procedure with larger incisions.”

Gary Rogers, Palisade

Gary Rogers of Palisade reported that he sought treatment for his hernia after attending an informational seminar last spring.

“I had been living with discomfort for about a year,” Rogers explained. “I went to my wellness checkup and learned I had a hernia. I went to Riverwood Healthcare and had robotic surgery and went home the same day. My recovery was quick with very little pain. In two weeks, I was painting my deck. I would recommend robotic surgery to anyone.”

Many patients do not require any narcotic pain medication after robotic hernia surgery, and the majority of those who do are able to discontinue it within three days. Typically, hernia surgery patients get back to normal activity and work within a week.

“Acquiring robotic technology aligns with Riverwood’s commitment to advancing health care and giving patients local access to the latest in surgical technology,” said Dr. Loveitt. “It’s an investment in our patients and in our community.”

To learn more about da Vinci robotic-assisted hernia surgery at Riverwood, visit For an appointment, call (218) 927-5566.