David M. Rutledge, MD FACS
As Dr. David Rutledge was settling into his office in the new facilities of Surgical Associates of Mansfield, one of the first things he added were his speakers. “If you’re gonna’ listen to music, you might as well do it right,” he said of the enormous subwoofers flanking his new space. While electronics are a lifelong passion, he also enjoys fixing things. “I’m a tinkerer,” Dr. Rutledge said. He spends his spare time fiddling with and fixing everything from cars to electrical wiring and doesn’t doubt this interest had a hand in leading him to his surgical career.
Born in Texas but raised in New Orleans, Dr. Rutledge completed his undergraduate at Duke University then returned to Texas for medical school and a general surgery residency at University of Texas Southwestern. He practiced for fifteen years in Fort Worth and is thrilled to be joining Surgical Associates of Mansfield where he’s restoring patients to health through minimally-invasive surgical procedures including laparoscopic gallbladder surgery for digestive disorders. “Traditional open gallbladder surgery requires a longer recovery period and a good deal of pain,” he said. “But less-invasive laparoscopic surgery is so minimally-invasive patients offer return to normal activities within a week.”
He stresses the importance of proper preparation, and says being a surgeon is much more about planning than he expected when he was getting into the field.
Dr. Rutledge is ardent about staying on top of advancements in his field, and is excited by the rapid rate of improvement in modern medical science. “Antibiotics have only been around for eighty years, and surgery was pretty difficult a hundred years ago. Who knows where we’ll be fifty years from now.”
The da Vinci and other technological advancements at Surgical Associates of Mansfield have made surgeries exponentially safer and simpler than ever before, and the care Dr. Rutledge brings to his craft ensures his patients get the very best care.
Surgical Associates of Mansfield takes things one step further with the da Vinci Surgical System, a cutting-edge robotic platform designed to expand traditional surgical capabilities. The da Vinci works in real time and translates the surgeon’s hand movements into precise micro-movements of the instruments at the surgical site, allowing Dr. Rutledge to perform major surgery through the smallest of incisions.
Although highly skilled at robotic surgery, Dr. Rutledge is cautious in its application. “It’s all about using the right tool for the right job,” he says. “Robots are great, but I never proceed with a robotic surgery when traditional surgery might be more effective.” He stresses the importance of proper preparation, and says being a surgeon is much more about planning than he expected when he was getting into the field.
“With the proper planning, the actual operation only takes up a small percentage of my time,” he said. A crucial part of this planning is sitting face-to-face with the patient to fully comprehend their needs. “It’s the thought process before and during the surgery that’s important, not just the wielding of a knife,” he says. “It takes planning to do the right thing and ensure each patient gets the treatment I’d want for myself or a family member.”