Dr. Brian Harkins, of Surgical Advanced Specialty Center, is a leader in Houston robotic surgery with the latest Da Vinci Xi robots and is considered the Best Robotic Surgeon available.
I'm the oldest of three boys, and I grew up mostly in Tennessee but traveled around quite a bit in the southeast. After attending more than 20 schools along the way, I ended up in Lake Charles, Louisiana where I attended high school. I met a girl in eighth grade who over the next few years became my girlfriend. With wide eyes we began dreaming and planning our life. In the summer between our junior and senior years I asked her to marry me and she said yes! We went through the senior year engaged and at the end of that year, 1978, we were married at a beautiful traditional wedding full of family and friends. After a heart-shaped honeymoon in the Pocono Mountains, it was off to the military.
I knew I wanted to be a physician but needed a way to pay for my education. So, during the day I worked as a nuclear missile mechanic and nights and weekends I attended college at the University of North Dakota. As exciting as that was the bigger and more exciting news was the birth of my first child. My son was born in 1980. Soon after this I received an "early out" from active duty and transitioned to the active reserves so I could continue my education. Once I converted to a position in the reserves and was able to attend Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge full-time. I was on a scholarship program from the military and after graduating with my medical degree I reentered the military as a general surgery resident at Eisenhower Army Medical Center in Augusta Georgia. That was a great experience for me but nothing compared to the experience of finding out that my wife was carrying twins! My twin daughters were born in 1987. My first duty station as a robotic surgeon was at Fort McClellan in Anniston, Alabama. I had an awesome time there for three years acting at times as the only surgeon for the entire post. That was in 1989 which was about the same time that the minimally invasive surgery movement was starting with laparoscopy.
I was very fortunate in my program to have early exposure to the new field of minimally invasive surgery as a resident. This was still before much of the country had even started adopting the new laparoscopy. My affinity for things involving technology helped me to quickly establish myself using this new surgical platform. At graduation I received the award as the "Outstanding Resident Laparoscopic Surgeon" in general surgery as well as the "Outstanding Graduating Resident" of all Eisenhower residents. When it came time for me to get out of the military I searched back close to home for a place to settle my family. I found a great opportunity in Tomball, Texas in 1997. After a few years living in the Cypress area we bought and moved to our home west of Tomball. When I started at Tomball Hospital in 1997, laparoscopy was still a fairly underutilized platform in general surgery. I was able to bring my laparoscopic experience to Tomball which helped to define my practice from the beginning. Over the years I was able to bring many laparoscopic innovations to Tomball.
When I became the best robotic surgeon I started giving numerous seminars and lectures about laparoscopic procedures to physicians both locally as well as in other states. Robotic surgery has been "developing" as a minimally invasive platform since the early 2000's. I chose not to convert to this technology for many years because I didn't feel it had reached a point that made it even equivalent much less superior to laparoscopy. That fact has changed for me and many other surgeon across the country with the introduction last year of the latest robotic platform for general surgery, the Davinci Robotic Surgery. The advances of this new robotic device have given me a comfort level that I can now offer my patients a better minimally invasive surgery than standard laparoscopy. I fully adopted robotic surgery in October 2014 and in the last year have become the second most prolific robotic general surgeon using the Da Vinci Xi robotic surgery platform in the world!
I'm very proud of the success I have had at Tomball Regional Medical Center and the excellent team that has been developed in robotics. I serve as the Robotics Committee Chairman and was pleased to note that in October of 2015 we became the first facility in the Houston area to have two Da Vinci Xi robots. I provide surgical care as an independent affiliate of the Surgical Advanced Specialty Center in my office in Tomball. I designed and built my 10,000 square-foot office in 2003. Every effort has been made to make the office comfortable, respectful of privacy, technologically advanced, and to do that all close to home.
The office is a beautiful example of how technology and classic comfort can be blended to create an exceptional healthcare environment. My office staff are friendly and most of us have been together for years. This is our only office and we proudly take care of patients not just from Northwest Houston but frequently from patients who seek us out from out-of-state. I truly do feel that I've been in the right place at the right time more than once. I met the love of my life in high school, developed self-discipline and a great respect for this country as a member of the military, trained in a medical facility where I was exposed to the technology explosion in surgery in the form of minimally invasive surgery, and then landed in a beautiful rapidly growing city, Tomball, where I was able to help bring this technology to the community. Medicine is my profession and I truly love what I do but family is what life is all about and I truly love how my life has unfolded. For those two wide-eyed teenagers in 1978, I don't think the life plan could have turned out any better!
455 School St. Bldg. 1, Suite 10 Tomball
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