In October 2000, Prof Pier Cristoforo Giulianotti carried out the first abdominal robotic surgical procedure at the 'Misericordia' Hospital in Grosseto. It was only a cholecystectomy but it marked the beginning of a new era of minimally invasive surgery. Up until that time, the Da Vinci Surgical System had been only used as an experimental prototype in war zones and also for some very selected cases of 'off-pump' coronary artery by-pass surgery. Since year 2000, robotic surgery in Grosseto has escalated thanks to the surgical intuitions of Prof Giulianotti and his team. In a relatively short period of time, extremely complex surgical procedures on lung, esophagus, stomach, colon, liver and pancreas were carried for the first time worldwide. In many of these procedures the robotic minimally invasive approach proved to be greatly advantageous not only compared to open surgery, but also to conventional laparoscopic surgery. Since then, the 'Misericordia' Hospital experience has represented a cornerstone within the robotic surgical community, and currently is a national centre of excellence of minimally invasive surgery. Furthermore, since 2003, the 'Misericodia' Hospital is the host institution of the 'International School of Robotic Surgery', founded by Prof Giulianotti.
In March 2007, Professor Pier Cristoforo Giulianotti left 'Misericodia' Hospital to work at the 'University of Illinois at Chicago' (UIC) where he had the opportunity to take his robotic surgical innovative ideas even further. However, he maintained a strong link with the Grosseto environment by remaining the director of the School of Robotic Surgery, and by promoting several research collaborations between the UIC and the 'Misericordia' Hospital. At the UIC, Prof Giulianotti has expanded the use of robotic surgery to transplant surgery, especially with regards to live donor liver and kidney transplantation. He ha also founded the 'Clinical Robotic Surgery Association' CRSA, the surgical association which attracts the vast majority of robotic surgeons worldwide and aims to promote robotic surgery development and research.
Since April 2007, Dr Andrea Coratti, a general surgeon grown up within Prof Giulianotti robotic surgical unit, has replaced him as Chief Division of General Surgery at the 'Misericordia; Hospital. Dr Coratti has maintained the innovative minimally invasive standard of care at the highest level: under his direction, robotic surgical procedures are being carried out for complex diseases of oesophagus, stomach, pancreas and colon. Beyond this, Dr Coratti has expanded the use of robotic approach to thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal gland surgery. The excellent results in terms of short post-operative recovery time, reduced postoperative pain, along with the variety of robotic surgery applications, have given to Dr Coratti great national and international consensus. Currently, it is calculated that more than 1700 robotic surgical procedures have been carried out in Grosseto since year 2000. Dr Coratti is also currently working towards the creation of a robotic surgical program in urology and thoracic surgery. He is currently vice-director of the international school of robotic surgery in Grosseto.
The international school of robotic surgery, hosted at the 'Misericordia' Hospital with the collaboration of ACOI (Associazione Chirurghi Ospedalieri Italiani), started its activities in 2004. The school of robotic surgery has a Da Vinci Surgical System entirely dedicated to simulation and training, which represent in Italy a unique set up of this type. Every year, numerous courses of robotic surgery are held at the 'Misericordia' Hospital, with attendance from all over the world. More the 650 surgeons from Italy, Europe, North and South America have attended a course at the Grosseto School of robotic surgery. The School of Robotic Surgery boasts an academic faculty made of surgeons from many different countries. The great variety of contributions of its faculty makes the robotic surgical school one of the most prestigious robotic teaching institution worldwide. In 2010, the 'Misericordia' Hosptial acquired the Da Vinci Si HD dual console system. This innovative Da Vinci system, beyond offering high definition resolution within its camera apparatus, has two parallel consoles, which are of great value for teaching purposes, being able to be operated by two surgeons simultaneously.
The University of Illinois at Chicago and the 'Misericordia' Hospital in Grosseto have set up collaboration with the aim of fostering the development of new applications of robotic surgery. Such collaboration entails the development of a network of internationally renowned robotic surgical centres in order to enhance research and development in the field of telemedicine and telesurgery. Prof Giulianotti will be a key figure in linking the North American and the Italian experience, as well as attracting collaborations from the most advanced robotic surgical centres worldwide.
After the excellent results achieved in the field of robotic general surgery, Dr Valerio Pizzuti has started in 2010 a program of robotic surgical urology in collaboration with the SIU, the Italian Society of Urology. Also the Otorhinolaryngology and the gynaecology departments, under the direction of Dr Boccuzzi and Dr Tamburro respectively, have started a program of robotic surgery in 2012, a further evidence of the great variety of surgical application that robotic surgery can offer.