Improving Surgical Outcomes For Patients

Improving Surgical Outcomes For Patients
Latest Technology Leads To Faster Recovery Times At Advanced Surgical Physicians

Story By Jaime Joshi Elder  |  Photos by Caleb Harris / Khanna House Studios

In 200 A.D., the Mayan civilization was in its infancy, the global population reached 257 million (less than the current population of the United States) and Leonidas of Alexandria started advocating for incision and cautery for breast cancer treatment — a process that became the standard of surgical care for the next 15 centuries.

However, over the past two decades, advances in surgical technology have accelerated at a dizzying pace. Surgeons have evolved from using scalpels to laser scalpels to operating the console of the da Vinci robot, a minimally invasive system that mirrors a surgeon’s hand movements while also delivering high-resolution, magnified images of what is being operated on.

Dr. Andrew J. Shapiro, medical director of Advanced Surgical Physicians in Wellington and the Comprehensive Breast Center at Wellington Regional Medical Center, is a passionate advocate for minimally invasive surgery, robotic surgery and advancements in breast cancer research. In 2023, he completed his 1,000th surgery with the da Vinci system and advocates strongly for the technology.

“I first started working with the da Vinci system in 2012,” Shapiro said. “As an advocate of ensuring the best possible outcomes for my patients, I saw that this technology had the potential to not only improve surgical outcomes, but also facilitate quicker recovery times and reduced hospital stays.”

This mentality is at the heart of his practice, Advanced Surgical Physicians. In addition to utilizing the da Vinci system, Shapiro and his partner, Dr. Kyle Eldredge, also employ traditional open surgery and laparoscopic techniques to treat the full range of general surgery conditions, including but not limited to breast cancer and benign breast diseases, gallbladder disorders, anorectal and colon conditions, as well as the treatment of pilonidal disease, melanoma and other skin cancers.

“Minimally invasive robotic surgery is used for so many different procedures, ranging from general surgery like we do at Advanced Surgical Physicians to gynecologic surgery like hysterectomies and urology procedures like prostatectomies and nephrectomies,” Shapiro said. “The procedure only uses small incisions, so it’s less traumatic on the patient’s body. This means less pain and blood loss. It means fewer complications and less scarring than with traditional surgery.”

This past April, Shapiro and Eldredge were each awarded accreditation as Surgeons of Excellence in Robotic Surgery and Minimally Invasive Surgery by the Surgical Review Corporation.

“This accolade reflects our practice’s continual effort to surpass the expected standards and lead in the development of safer, more effective surgical treatments,” Shapiro said.

As general surgery specialists, Shapiro and Eldredge both treat patients with a multitude of conditions, which can include: skin and soft tissue such as the breasts; surgical treatment of cancer; surgical treatment of traumatic injuries; care of critically ill patients who need surgery; the head and neck; the abdomen and its contents, such as the stomach, liver, gallbladder, spleen, duodenum, the tail of the pancreas and the transverse colon; the endocrine system (hormones and glands); and the digestive tract.

They are also involved with their patients from the initial evaluation to prepping for surgery, performing the procedure and post-operative management.

“There is no greater relationship in medicine than a surgeon and their patient,” Eldredge said. “What inspired me to become a general surgeon was the ability to take complete care of a patient from the very beginning. From initially diagnosing what is ailing them to completing surgery and alleviating them of their pain or illness to watching them recover and feel better.”

Eldredge started his medical journey as an emergency medical technician and saw first-hand the difference that efficient and calculated care makes in the health and well-being of a patient. While in medical school at Emory University in Atlanta, he was awarded a fellowship in Robotic Minimally Invasive Colorectal Surgery and continues to serve Palm Beach County’s western communities with excellence in this field.

The strategic implementation of patient care in almost every area of the body is also what inspired Shapiro to pursue a general surgery specialty, as it echoed the training he received in the military.

A proud veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, Shapiro completed his residency in general surgery at Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Ft. Gordon, Georgia, and went on to serve as chief of the Department of Surgery at Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital in Ft. Polk, Louisiana, and was awarded a Combat Medic badge, the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

“The ability to serve my country was my honor, but the ability to provide medical care to our brave men and women fighting for our freedom? That was my distinct privilege,” he said. “My career as a military surgeon prepared me for almost every surgical contingency, and I appreciate all the support we’ve received here in Wellington as a military family. It has a deep sense of community and is a great place to support and feel supported.”

Shapiro’s service didn’t end upon his honorable discharge from the army, and he continues to support his community today through philanthropic means.

In addition to hosting a 5K race to benefit the local nonprofit organization Clinics Can Help, which collects and redistributes durable medical equipment and supplies to families in need, Shapiro also works as a trainer with New Horizons Service Dogs, a nonprofit organization that partners trained dogs with the disabled, mostly in the area of wheelchair and mobility assistance.

“Andrew loves dogs and understands the positive impact a dog can have on someone’s life,” said Ilene Shapiro, Dr. Shapiro’s wife and office manager at Advanced Surgical Physicians. “Wrangler, our golden retriever from New Horizons Service Dogs, works with our patients at the office as an emotional support dog. Receiving a cancer diagnosis is a lifechanging event, and patients and their families experience so much anxiety during this time. Wrangler works as an emotional support animal at the practice and helps bring about a sense of peace and calm. Both staff and patients at the practice love him.”

On top of all of this, and spending time with his family, Shapiro makes the time to serve as a voluntary assistant professor of surgery at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.

“I was raised believing in the importance of service and community stewardship,” Shapiro said. “Both my wife and I believe that we are better when we work together in service to others. We try to reinforce these values both with our children and in our medical practice. We have traveled all over the country and are proud to call Palm Beach County home, and we are committed to providing the highest standards of care, bringing our patients options for the best health outcomes.”

To learn more about Advanced Surgical Physicians, visit