Humber surgeons perform Canada’s first Ventral Hernia Repair with da Vinci Surgical Robot

November 15, 2017

From left to right, Drs. Jensen Tan, Steven MacLellan, and Jack Barkin. Dr. Barkin, who uses the da Vinci robot for prostate and kidney surgeries, has been lending his expertise to the new hernia repair program.

On Wednesday, November 15th, Humber surgeons Dr. Steven MacLellan and Dr. Jensen Tan performed Canada’s first Ventral Hernia Repair and Abdominal Wall Reconstruction using the da Vinci Surgical Robot.


Humber River Hospital is already home to many abdominal wall and hernia practices (including laparoscopic procedures), and the robotics program being developed by Dr. MacLellan and Dr. Tan is a natural expansion of that program. This new practice is well established in the US and in Europe, but has yet to be adopted in Canada, mostly due to limited access to equipment such as the da Vinci.


Using the da Vinci Surgical Robot, Dr. MacLellan and Dr. Tan are able to perform complex abdominal wall procedures, which have previously only been performed in Canada with an open technique (which is much more invasive). Instead, the robot enables the surgeons to use a minimally invasive approach, which decreases the risk of wound complications, results in less pain for the patient, and shortens length of stay in the Hospital.


“A hernia can drastically impact someone’s quality of life,” Dr. MacLellan said, “We are excited to make an impact and improve outcomes for our patients. We’re in a good position to do that at Humber, with our existing robotics program and with the support we are receiving from the Hospital and from nurses and physicians who have experience using the da Vinci.”


Dr. Tan added, “Today went very well. We were fully prepared. We have both had a lot of practice with the robot, and we made sure to address how the operation would flow beforehand.”


The da Vinci Surgical Robot is the centerpiece of the Murphy and Helen Hull Robotics Centre at Humber River Hospital.  The Centre was established thanks to a transformational donation from the late Murphy and Helen Hull.