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The Grinnell Institute for Robotic and Minimally Invasive Surgery


The Grinnell Institute for Robotic and Minimally Invasive Surgery was originally established in the mid 1990’s as The Grinnell Institute of Minimally Invasive Surgery. The purpose of the Institute is to promote intellectual inquiry and practical solutions for improving surgical procedures and to share these ideas with surgeons around the globe.

In 1989, laparoscopic surgery, or minimally invasive surgery was in its infancy. In 1991, our surgeons began applying this technique in many new ways, refining many operations and making them much easier for every patient. Many papers were published, many “first-ever” operations were performed, and many surgeons joined the Institute’s surgeons for formal lectures and observation in the operating room to improve their own approaches to the patient. Sharing knowledge in this way has been a hallmark of the Institute for nearly twenty years.

The General Surgeons at the Grinnell Institute for Robotic and Minimally Invasive Surgery (GIRMIS) have a long history of innovation with the application of “micro-surgery” for all sorts of operations but are especially well-known for improvements in upper abdominal surgery, including operations on the esophagus, stomach, spleen liver, pancreas, liver, gall bladder, and bile ducts. Indications for such operations include Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and Hiatal Hernia, Morbid Obesity, Cancer of the Esophagus, Stomach, and Pancreas, Diseases of the Spleen, Gallstones, and Diseases of the Gall Bladder and Bile Ducts, Liver Tumors, Diaphragm Hernias, and many others.

The list does not stop there, however, as GIRMIS General Surgeons also attend to surgical diseases of the Lungs, Intestine, Appendix, Colon, Rectum, and pelvic organs.

The Urological Surgeons at GIRMIS have a long history of applying minimally invasive techniques for surgery of the bladder, kidneys, ureters, adrenal glands, and prostate, including the most complex Urological procedures. Indications for such operations include Tumors and Cancer of the Renal System and Bladder, Prostate Cancer, Adrenal Gland Tumors, Kidney and Bladder Stones, Pelvic Floor Prolapse and Urinary Incontinence, and more.


About robotic surgery

Robotic surgery has taken the micro-surgery world to a new level of perfection.

The “robot”, as it’s commonly called, is actually a very advanced surgical instrument that uses computers and advanced 3-D imaging to allow the surgeon to control every instrument used for minimally invasive surgery at once.

The surgeon sets up for surgery in the usual manner. Once the patient is properly situated, the “robot” is positioned and its arms attached to the instrument entry guides on the patient. High tech instruments and a camera are inserted, and the surgeon goes to a console (like a cockpit) where he is seated and manipulates all of the instruments with finely tuned finger controls.

The "robot" is an awesome development that allows the surgeon superior visibility and very fine control of the work being performed. This approach allows the surgeon to perform minimally invasive surgery for conditions which could not have been treated in this manner in the past, and with superior outcomes. Patients nearly always have less pain, less blood loss, and a shorter hospital stay than with any other approach. 



The Institute’s surgeons were early adopters of robotic surgery, and have become Iowa’s leaders in General Surgery and Urology for use of this technique, teaching and proctoring surgeons in Iowa and in other states. Currently, the Institute’s surgeons perform more than two hundred robotic procedures annually, of all types.

Our innovative surgeons were the first in the state of Iowa to perform a robotic-assisted Whipple procedure for pancreatic cancer and a robotic-assisted abdominoperineal resection for rectal cancer.

In our hands, patients benefit from quicker recovery and lower complication rates when compared with traditional open or laparoscopic surgery, as objectively demonstrated by our outcomes data in NSQIP---the National Surgical Quality Improvement Project.

Our expert surgeons routinely perform a wide range of robotic operations including:

Click on the name of the procedure for an actual video of the operation, performed by our surgeons

                Nissen fundoplication and hiatal hernia repair

                Colon resection


Please check back, as we frequently add new videos!  

                Paraesophageal hernia repair

                Heller myotomy

                Partial gastrectomy

                Bariatric surgery

                Inguinal hernia repair

                Ventral hernia repair



Leaders in teaching and outreach

All of our general surgeons are certified proctors of robotic surgery, having traveled extensively across Iowa and the Midwest to teach other surgeons; giving back to the medical community throughout the state and elsewhere.

Visiting surgeons routinely travel to Grinnell for case observations as they implement robotic surgery into their practices.


General and Bariatric Surgery

Mathew W. Severidt, D.O. – Medical Director, Grinnell Institute for Robotic and Minimally Invasive Surgery

David Coster,  M.D., FACS - Chairman, Department of Surgery, Grinnell Regional Medical Center


Aaron Smith, D.O.


Other minimally invasive areas of expertise

  • Bariatric revisions                       
  • Gastric band removal with conversion to sleeve gastrectomy
  • Conversion of vertical banded gastroplasty to sleeve gastrectomy
  • Gastric bypass revisions
  • Revision of previous Nissen fundoplication

Other diagnostic testing and services offered

  • pH testing
  • esophageal maonometry
  • anorectal manometry

     Click here for more information about Grinnell Bariatrics


How to contact us

Robotic Minimally Invasive Surgery is performed by GIRMIS surgeons both in Grinnell at Grinnell Regional Medical Center, and in Pella at the Pella Regional Health Center. Both Institutions are known for safety and extremely high-quality services. The majority of Urological procedures are performed in Pella, and the majority of General Surgical Procedures are performed in Grinnell.

You may contact an Institute surgeon through Surgical Associates, LLP, of Grinnell, at 641-236-4323. Tell the receptionist you would like an appointment to discuss the possibility of robotic surgery for your condition, and they will direct you to the appropriate specialist!


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