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MountainView Hospital Participates in "Firefly" Clinical Trial

February 19, 2013

Hospital one of four sites in the country taking part in study

Las Vegas, Nev. (February 19, 2013) – MountainView Hospital is one of four sites in the country to take part in a clinical trial that looks at the use of Directed Imaging during minimally invasive hysterectomies for cervical and uterine cancer.

The other study sites include hospitals and academic medical centers in Indiana, North Carolina and Michigan. These procedures utilize the daVinci Surgical System, to perform complicated gynecologic cancer procedures through several tiny incisions. The clinical trial gets its name from the Firefly Fluorescence Imaging software and dye that causes sentinel lymph nodes to glow a fluorescent green.

Dr Lynn Kowalski at the da Vinci controlsMountainView and Dr. Lynn Kowalski, medical director of the hospital’s robotics program, the Las Vegas Institute for Robotic Surgery, were chosen to take part in this clinical study because of the great track record of our surgical robotics program and Dr. Kowalski's depth of experience and knowledge with robotic and gynecological surgeries.

"What that means is that our patients who qualify for the study don’t have to leave the state for the latest care. It means that they are getting the best care here, in their back yard," said Will Wagnon, MountainView Hospital Chief Executive Officer. "We are bringing innovative new surgical approaches to patients."

The study examines whether fewer lymph nodes can be removed during cancer surgeries by identifying the "sentinel" lymph nodes (those most likely to involved in the spread of the disease). Current practice requires removing all the lymph nodes near the cancer. By only taking out the most informative lymph nodes, surgical complications may decrease and patients may have fewer health side effects long term, such as lymphedema of the legs.

Firefly image on da Vanci display monitorTargeting only the sentinel lymph nodes is already the standard of care for breast cancer, using both radioactive and colored dyes. Removing fewer but more informative lymph nodes and examining them very closely for cancer spread has virtually eliminated lymphedema in breast cancer patients and also improved cancer treatment.

For cervical and uterine cancers, the Firefly Fluorescence Imaging software on the daVinci Surgical System allows identification of fluorescent dye in the sentinel lymph nodes. The dye is inserted directly into the cervix by the surgeon at the start of the operation and allowed to spread through the lymph node channels. It acts as a guide, "lighting up" the pathways to the lymph nodes. The study will help determine if removing only the sentinel lymph nodes is as good or better than removing all the lymph nodes.

During a recent surgery, once the solution was injected and the fluorescence light switched on, everyone in the room could see the lymphatic channels and sentinel lymph nodes glow fluorescent green. It’s clear where the Firefly gets its name. The green dye led Dr. Kowalski straight to the key lymph nodes.

"MountainView has a cutting edge program, we are doing real research," said Dr. Lynn Kowalski after her third surgery involving this protocol. "From a patient's perspective, they don’t need to go out of town to get the most advanced care; we’re the only facility west of the Mississippi to offer this type of surgery."

About MountainView Hospital:
MountainView Hospital is a state-of-the-art, full-service medical facility located in the heart of northwest Las Vegas, one of the fastest growing areas in the Valley. With a dedicated and talented staff of employees and outstanding physicians, MountainView Hospital (MVH) is recognized for high patient satisfaction and for providing quality and compassionate care to our community for the past 16 years. The hospital is a member of the respected Sunrise Health System consisting of Sunrise Hospital, Sunrise Children’s Hospital, Southern Hills Hospital and several surgery and diagnostic imaging centers offering a complete range of specialized and technologically advanced services.

MountainView Hospital
3100 N. Tenaya Way
Las Vegas, NV 89128

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