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Founded in 1946, the Summit Health Surgery Department is Central Oregon’s oldest and most respected surgical department.

Our services encompass all aspects of general surgery, such as abdominal, colon/rectal, endocrine/thyroid, pediatric, breast, vascular and cancer-related operations. We provide the latest in surgery techniques, including innovative laparoscopic procedures with minimally invasive techniques and leading-edge treatments for esophageal cases.

We also offer special expertise in breast surgery. Dr. Darren Kowalski and Dr. Erin Walling have completed the Mastery of Breast Surgery certification, making them the only surgeons in Central Oregon, and among five in the state, to be recognized by the American Society of Breast Surgeons in this way. The Mastery of Breast Surgery certification shows a commitment to improving breast care and is recognized by the American Board of Surgery as one of its ongoing quality assessment programs. Dr. Kowalski and Dr. Walling have also completed breast ultrasound certification.

Our surgeons perform operations at both St. Charles Medical Center and at the Bend Surgery Center. In case of emergency, we’re on-call 24 hours a day.

Physicians at Summit Health are now offering patients the option of robotic-assisted surgery for many of the procedures done traditionally through an open or laparoscopic approach. Utilizing the DaVinci surgical system from Intuitive Surgical and offered through St. Charles Hospital in Bend, Summit Health surgeons, now have more options than ever before for treating patients with routine and complex general surgical problems.

The primary advantage of robotic-assisted surgery over open procedures is significantly less pain and less time in the recovery process or in the hospital. The primary advantage over a laparoscopic approach is a better view of the tissues with an improved resolution camera in 3D and an extra “wrist” within the patient on all instruments, to allow meticulous dissection with a range of motion never before available to surgeons other than through an open approach.

This exciting new technology is currently being used by surgeons at Summit Health for procedures such as appendectomies, intra-abdominal biopsies, cholecystectomies (now offered through a single incision hidden in the belly button-less than an inch long), and colon resections. The options for its application in other surgeries in the future is almost limitless.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the Summit Health Department of Surgery for more information on this exciting new technology offered in Central Oregon.