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SJHH / Health Services/ Surgical Services

Surgical Services

With rising COVID cases in the community, St. Joe’s is resuming COVID-19 testing for specific asymptomatic pre-operative patients. Starting September 6, 2021, the following patient groups will be required to show proof of full vaccination at their pre-operative appointment:

  • All Elective Surgeries having or potentially having general anesthesia;
  • All elective patients being admitted after surgery who have an artificial airway (tracheostomy, Laryngectomy) or will/may need to use a CPAP, BiPAP while admitted;
  • All endoscopy patients having an EBUS, EUS or Bronchoscopy procedure.

Elective unvaccinated individuals must be COVID-tested 48 to 72 hours prior to their surgery/procedure and have a negative COVID test. The Pre-Assessment Unit (PAAU) will either do the COVID test at time of the pre-operative appointment or schedule the patient to have it done within the correct window.

Elective surgeries will be postponed for unvaccinated individuals without a negative COVID test or patients that fail to provide validation of full vaccination. Emergent and urgent surgeries will also need to be tested, but may proceed without a COVID test based on surgical priority. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Patient Relations team at

What this program does…

Serving patients in Hamilton, surrounding areas and across Ontario, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) is a robust academic health science centre where close to 20,000 surgical procedures are performed annually. Our technically advanced surgical program offers an extensive range of specialized services. Delivery of our surgical specialties is provided through day surgery, inpatient care, and minor procedures outpatient care. Areas of focus include:

  • General Surgery
  • Bariatric Surgery
  • Vascular Surgery
  • Gynecological Surgery
  • Thoracic Surgery
  • Ears/Eyes/Nose & Throat
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Urology/Kidney Transplant
  • Head and Neck

The surgical program works closely with the Province of Ontario to improve access to timely care through participation in the Ontario Wait Time Strategy, Cancer Care Ontario Surgical Oncology Program, the Ontario Renal Network Transplant Program, and Bariatric Surgery programs. These programs enables us to complete approximately 600 total joint replacement procedures, over 5,000 cataract procedures, 150 kidney transplants, 600 bariatric surgeries, and 2,000 cancer surgery cases each year.

In 2011, our surgical program opened a new 106,187 square foot surgical facility. The state-of-the-art facility includes 12 new operating rooms, 15 post-anesthesia care [PACU] beds, a 22-bed day surgery unit [DSU] and a new Medical Device Reprocessing Department.

SJHH is Canada’s leader in minimally invasive surgical (MIS) procedures. In this field, St. Joseph’s is a referral centre for all of Ontario and many parts of Eastern Canada. More than 2,000 surgeons and nurses from across Canada have come to SJHH to be trained in MIS procedures and care.

Da Vinci Robot

Through a generous donation to the surgical program, SJHH added a Da Vinci Robot laser to our Operating Room in 2012. This device enables specially trained surgeons to perform specific minimally invasive surgical procedures through tiny incisions. The device’s arm has a wrist that fully rotates 360 degrees. This means that the surgery is accomplished with high precision and with minimal tissue damage resulting in shorter recovery times, reduced hospitalization and ultimately reduced trauma to patients.

Minimally-invasive surgery techniques have become an integral part of surgical excellence throughout the world. At St. Joseph’s, the da Vinci System is not only allowing our surgeons to stay on the cusp of emerging surgical is allowing our Hospital to continue to be an innovator and a leader in the field of robotics.

Since the da Vinci Surgical Robotic System’s arrival in early 2012, St. Joseph’s has established itself as a centre of excellence in robotics. In this short time, the robotic program has grown to complement St. Joseph’s history and unique distinction as a surgical leader and innovator. The rapid development of this successful robotic program is owed to St. Joseph’s previous and extensive experience in advanced minimally-invasive surgery. Since March 2012, well over 2,000 robotic surgeries have been performed.

Due to the tremendous success of the robotic program, St. Joseph’s is now recognized nationally as a leading robotic centre in urology that actively trains and supports new robotic surgeons.

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation is currently raising $6 million to bring the next generation of the da Vinci Surgical Robotic System to Hamilton. With a lifespan of 7-10 years, we know our current da Vinci system will need to be replaced in the coming years.

MAKO Rio Surgical Robotic System

In 2018, SJHH became home to Canada’s first orthopaedic surgical robot, the MAKO Rio Surgical Robotic System. The first surgery using the robot took place in January 2019. The robot is currently being used to research patient benefits following knee replacement surgery; it will in time expand to include research into hip replacement and other orthopaedic surgical needs too.

In Canada, arthritis is the second most common chronic illness. And in Hamilton, 1 in 5 Hamiltonians are affected by this debilitating condition. More than 1,800 arthritis patients from across the region visit St. Joe’s each year for orthopaedic surgery with 600 patients undergoing hip or knee surgeries annually.

Thanks to the generous $1 million lead donation from a proud Hamilton couple, an investment by the Hamilton Future Fund, City of Hamilton, support from Stryker, the orthopaedic robotic technology owner, as well as other donations from grateful St. Joe’s patients and community members, St. Joe’s was able to bring the latest surgical technology and promise of transformational research findings to Canada.

How this program helps...

The surgical program at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is focused on providing highly advanced, quality, patient-centred surgical care using the most up to date surgical techniques and care paths, participating in and leading clinical research, and providing exceptional educational experiences for medical learners.

Our remarkable state of the art facilities help us meet the needs of thousands of surgical patients and offer tremendous benefits for our community:

  • Surgeries are even more precise, less painful, with smaller incisions that heal faster. Shorter post-op stays in hospital mean patients can go home sooner.
  • Wait-times for surgery are reduced.
  • Utilizing the latest in technology specifically suited to meet the needs of St. Joseph’s surgical specialties, particularly in the area of minimally invasive surgery.
  • We have enhanced our role as a training ground for the nurses, anesthetists, and surgeons of tomorrow.
  • We constantly innovate, pushing the boundaries of care by discovering advanced surgical techniques including complex techniques such as telerobotics-assisted, image-guided surgery with HD and 3D images.

Your Care Team

A skilled and dedicated interdisciplinary team of expert health professionals provides care for patients in the surgical program. Beyond your surgeon and anesthesiologist, team members may include your nurse, respiratory therapist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, speech therapist, pharmacist, social worker. The team will work collaboratively to provide you with the care you need to recover and return to your home as soon as possible. If required, our hospital team will link you with community care through the Community Care Access Centre.  CCAC coordinators are on site daily working closely with our team to meet the post discharge care needs of our patients.  

Preparing for Your Stay

Unless you come to the Hospital through a visit to the Emergency Department or are directed to come for a minor procedure by one of our surgeons, you will be given an appointment with our Pre-Operative Clinic. The clinic staff will prepare you with the information and instructions you require prior to the day of your surgery.

We ask that you do not bring any valuables with you as the hospital cannot be responsible for lost or stolen personal items.