Robot-Assisted Surgery and the Da Vinci System Through robot-assisted surgery, surgical procedures result in more accurate, safe, and effective outcomes, while also allowing for smaller incisions, minimal blood loss, faster recovery, and a reduced risk of complications post-surgery. The technology has been brought on to tackle surgeries previously deemed too complex or in too difficult-to-access areas.
The Da Vinci Robotic Surgical System Consists of 3 Main Components:
- The Surgical Cart (a robotic cart at the patient’s side) – This performs the surgery and is controlled by a computer that exactly replicates the movements of the surgeon who operates the robot’s controls from the console. The robotic cart contains the robot’s 4 arms. The first of these arms holds the system’s cameras which send high-definition 3-D view of the patient’s internal organs at the surgical site back to the surgeon at the console. This gives the surgeon a clear, detailed view of the internal organs, tissues, and nerves. The remaining 3 arms can hold a multitude of different endowrist instruments that can be rotated and bended in 7 different degrees of motion. This means that the movements of the robotic instruments mirror those of human hands, but with more detail and finesse thanks to computerized assistance.
- The Surgeon’s Console – This is where the surgeon sits and operates the master controls to perform the surgery using a stereoscopic monitor that provides a 3-D view of the surgical site. Throughout the surgery, the surgeon will sit at the console and perform the surgery using both hands to manipulate the master controls as if they were performing normal surgery. The system then transmits and seamlessly translates the surgeon's hand, wrist and finger movements into precise, real-time movements of the surgical instruments within the patient’s body.
- The Computer Control Tower – This is an important component that helps to regulate, analyze, and process data signals between the surgeon and the robot.
Is Robot-Assisted Surgery Right for You?
Doctors use the Da Vinci Surgical System in the treatment of almost all organ systems. Examples of conditions and diseases which are appropriate for the use of robot-assisted surgery include:
- Gastrointestinal system diseases, such as esophageal cancer and colorectal cancer
- Diseases of the liver, pancreas, and biliary system, such as liver cancer, gallbladder cancer, and gallstones
- Urinary tract diseases, including prostate cancer, bladder cancer and kidney cancer
- Gynecological diseases, such as uterine cancer or fibroids, ovarian tumors and pelvic organ prolapse
- Respiratory and chest diseases, such as lung cancer and chest wall tumors
Preparing for Robot-Assisted Surgery
The process is the same as any standard surgery. The patient’s physical condition will be evaluated prior to surgery. The doctor will compile information from the patient’s medical history, a physical examination, and laboratory test results, just as in other surgical procedures, in order to ensure that the patient is physically and mentally prepared to undergo surgery.
With regards to preparing the patient for surgery, the process will include providing the patient with information about how the anesthesia works, postoperative care, and any possible complications that may occur
Patients must not eat or drink anything before surgery. Antimicrobials will also be given to minimize any risk of infection.
Advantages of Robot-Assisted Surgery
This kind of surgery is both very accurate and safe, as the surgeon has an extremely clear view of the internal organs and surgical site.
- The robotic arms are able to bend and rotate the endowrist instruments in 7 different degrees of motion, which is a huge advantage, especially for complicated surgeries or those in difficult-to-reach positions
- The procedure results in reduced postoperative complications
- Patients experience less blood loss and a faster recovery due to the small incisions of the minimally invasive surgery
Possible Risks and Complications
Use of the Da Vinci system in robot-assisted surgery has the same risks and can cause complications just like most other types of surgery. The types of complications depend on the condition of the patient and the severity of the disease.
Robotic-assisted surgery is not suitable for all patients. Doctors will consider whether or not it is appropriate and will give a clear description of any risks or complications that may occur for each individual patient.
What to Expect After Robotic-Assisted Surgery
Patients will spend less time recuperating in the hospital and can expect to return to their normal routine and everyday lives much more quickly than with traditional surgery. Postoperative self-care and behavior depends on the medical condition of each individual patient and will be explained in detail by the doctor.