News & Events

First successful robotic surgery for polyp removal in Maine

Tyler_Bernaiche_MD_NorthernLightSurgery-(1).jpgBangor, Maine (December 14, 2021) – Tyler Bernaiche, MD, colorectal surgeon, Northern Light Surgical Specialists, is the first surgeon in Maine to complete a robotic transanal operation. The procedure, which removes polyps and some early-stage cancers from areas of the rectum which cannot be accessed during a colonoscopy, uses a robotic camera and instruments to find the growth, remove it, and stitch it closed all in one to two hours. The surgery requires no external incisions, which means less risk of infection and other complications. It causes minimal discomfort, reducing the need for narcotic pain medications during recovery.

Dr. Bernaiche, who has completed two robotic transanal operations so far, explains, “The success of these procedures highlights the robotic expertise available at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. We can quickly and completely remove some early-stage rectal cancers as well as difficult pre-cancerous polyps in the least invasive way possible, without the need for external incisions or several days in the hospital to recover. Most patients will go home the same day as the procedure.”

The traditional method of removing rectal cancers requires the surgeon to make multiple incisions through the abdomen to remove some or all of the rectum, a surgery that takes five hours or more, leaving internal and external wounds that require treatment, pain medication, and several days of recovery in the hospital. The traditional surgery is also associated with risks of serious complications including changes in the patient’s bowel, urinary, and sexual function, as well as the risk of requiring a temporary or permanent colostomy bag.

“We are so pleased to offer this minimally invasive option to patients in Maine,” Dr. Bernaiche continues. “It means our neighbors who may be concerned about early-stage colorectal cancer don’t have to travel out of state for safe, innovative, high-quality care.”