Celebrating 1,000 Robotic Surgeries


ACMH Hospital is pleased to announce that its 1,000th robotic surgery has been successfully completed. The da Vinci Xi, considered one of the most dynamic tools for robotic surgery in the world, was first acquired by ACMH in 2019.

Dr. Ricky Clay was instrumental in developing ACMH’s robotic surgery program, drawing from his prior experience at Geisinger Medical Center. He also continues to mentor and educate fellow surgeons on robotic procedures.

“Robotic surgery allows me to perform procedures that could otherwise be impossible with traditional laparoscopic techniques,” Dr. Clay explained. “This is the way of the future; we are able to provide immense value to the patient by diminishing complications and recovery times.”

Dr. Clay went on to thank the surgical team as a whole: “None of this would be possible without the efforts of everyone involved. They adapted to robotic surgery quickly, and I am grateful for their skill and passion.”

Dr. Sarun Suwan was an early adopter of robotic surgery alongside Dr. Clay. Together they pioneered the program, which has expanded to include ten surgeons to date. Dr. Suwan has performed a total of 500 robotic procedures in just 2 ½ years, a noteworthy accomplishment.

“What initially impressed me was looking at the numbers comparing robotic techniques to laparoscopic surgeries,” said Dr. Suwan. “I was immediately blown away by the improved visuals and precision. Robotic surgery provides immediate benefits to not only myself, but to the patient during the procedure and subsequent recovery. It has been a great privilege to be an integral part of the robotic surgery program here at ACMH.”

John Lewis, ACMH President and CEO, explained that the robotic surgery program has gone far beyond his initial expectations: “Once Dr. Suwan and I first experienced this system during a site visit, we turned from skeptics to believers. The difference in instrumentation between the da Vinci Xi and past robotic iterations is night-and-day. This truly is a groundbreaking piece of equipment with untold value to the community.”

“It is also noteworthy that ten ACMH surgeons now include robotic procedures within their surgical capabilities,” Lewis continued. “Our commitment to innovation and a history of technological advances continues to benefit the patients in our region.”

The da Vinci Xi Surgical System provides a level of precision that is simply not feasible with traditional techniques. Operated by a specially credentialed surgeon who is 100% in control during procedures, the da Vinci Xi System improves comfort for patients and surgeons alike. The robotic-assisted da Vinci Xi System translates the surgeon’s hand movements into smaller, more precise movements of tiny instruments inside the patient’s body. There is also an immersive 3D-HD vision component – providing surgeons a highly magnified view, virtually extending their eyes and hands into the patient. Procedures are minimally-invasive, using small incisions roughly the size of a dime.

Techniques made possible by da Vinci result in greatly reduced pain, little to no blood loss, significantly quicker recovery, and less aggressive pain medication regimens. This is an expandable technology platform that is designed to accommodate and seamlessly integrate a range of current technologies, as well as future innovations, in areas such as imaging, advanced instruments and anatomical access.

Robotic procedures performed at ACMH Hospital include the following:

  • Appendectomy
  • Esophageal surgery
  • Gallbladder removal
  • Hernia repair
  • Spleen removal
  • Hysterectomy
  • Salpingectomy (fallopian tube removal)
  • Prostatectomy
  • Nephrectomy (kidney removal)
  • Colorectal surgery



PHOTO (left to right): Lisa Frank, Certified Surgical Tech; Cynthia Waugaman, RN; Dr. Sarun Suwan; Angela McIlwain, Robotic Coordinator; Dr. Ricky Clay;
Heather Miklos, Physician Assistant