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Las Vegas doctor teaches hundreds minimally invasive surgery

Dr. Warren Volker’s steady hand has guided hundreds of people to a promised land of minimally invasive surgery.

Now, Volker and Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center, where he serves as chief of staff, has received a little glory.

On April 1, Volker, 47, performed a hysterectomy and at the same time trained his 500th physician. The milestone was broadcast to a group of 120 physicians stationed at Wynn Encore, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd. South, for a conference.

With three small incisions in a Las Vegas woman’s abdomen, Volker removed a uterus enlarged to three times its normal size and troubled by multiple tumors.

As soon as the woman was wheeled into the recovery room, Volker had made hospital history.

Coupled with his eight years of previous training experience and current work with UCLA’s medical center, he has trained about 2,000 physicians. He’s also a board-certified obstetrics and gynecologist .

“I’ve been doing it for so long, it’s just second nature,” Volker said. “But this is rare.”

The tele surgical training was arranged in part with the American Institute of Minimally Invasive Surgery, a national educator for advanced surgical techniques for women’s health specialists. Volker is one of its founders, and the training program is based at Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center, 6900 N. Durango Drive.

Minimally invasive surgery, also referred to as laparoscopic surgery, involves small incisions and tools, including a microscoping camera.

The patient usually has less blood loss and pain and a shorter recovery period.

Jody, who asked to withhold her last name, was the patient from the April 1 surgery. She returned to work within 12 days, a far cry from old-fashioned hysterectomies. Those patients often would be out of commission for months.

Jody, 45, said her pain was small enough that Advil was the only painkiller she needed.

She joked that a tonsillectomy she had three years ago was more painful.

Volker’s milestone also is rare considering not many surgeons are practicing minimally invasive methods.

“Less than 25 percent of surgeries, especially in women’s health, is done minimally invasive,” he said. “The other percentages could, but doctors just aren’t trained for it in academic centers. It takes a big commitment for OB-GYN surgeons to learn.”

Jody’s mother, a retired nurse, met Volker at a research seminar and once was his patient.

It was a coincidence that Jody also was in Volker’s care, but she said she trusted his reputation.

“I would recommend him to anyone having a hysterectomy,” she said.

For more information , visit centennialhillshospital.com or call 835-9700.

Contact Centennial and Paradise View reporter Maggie Lillis at mlillis@viewnews.com or 477-3839.

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