Until recently, if you needed surgery, you had two options. Either traditional open surgery with large incisions or minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, which requires only small incisions.
Robotic surgery systems have changed all that. Robot-assisted surgeries utilize advanced technology allowing surgeons to perform complex operations with high precision using tiny incisions.
At present, the most prominent robotic surgery system is the da Vinci surgical robot. The da Vinci robotic system enables surgeons to perform minimally invasive procedures on the heart, joints, gastrointestinal system, prostate, head, neck, and reproductive system.
Patients experience less pain, fewer complications, and a quicker recovery after surgery using this robotic system.
Continue reading to learn more about da Vinci robotic surgery, how it works, its benefits, and safety.
What Is Robot-Assisted Surgery?
Robotic surgery, more accurately called robot-assisted surgery, uses specialized technology that enables surgeons to perform complex procedures with more accuracy, flexibility, and control.
The most common robotic surgical systems consist of the following:
- Mechanical, surgical arms with flexible wrists and tiny surgical instruments attached to them
- A camera that provides a high-definition, magnified, 3D view of the surgical site
- A surgical console near the operating table where the surgeon controls the robotic surgical system while seated
The term “robotic” often misleads people into thinking that a robot performs the surgery. However, that is not the case. A surgeon performs the procedure and is in control of the robotic system the entire time.
Robotic surgery involves making one or more tiny incisions. A surgeon guides the surgical instruments from outside the patient’s body with the help of a console and a three-dimensional camera.
How Is Robot-Assisted Surgery Different Than Other Surgeries?
Similar to laparoscopic surgery, robotic surgery is minimally invasive and differs from traditional open surgery because it requires smaller incisions and uses a camera that gives a better view of the surgical site.
Although both laparoscopic and robot-assisted surgeries involve similar techniques, the technology used in robotic surgery is much more advanced.
Laparoscopic surgery is performed manually with a two-dimensional camera. Meanwhile, robotic surgery is performed by remote-controlling surgical instruments from outside the patient’s body with the help of a three-dimensional camera. Your surgeon uses a remote console while guiding the robot to do the actual procedure.
The robotic arms can reach places a surgeon’s hand usually cannot during open or laparoscopic surgery. Moreover, they are free from the typical tremors from the surgeon’s hands, providing additional stability and precision while performing the procedure.
Since robot-assisted surgery gives the surgeon an enhanced view and better control, it typically results in less pain and blood loss, fewer complications, and a quicker recovery time for the patient.
What Is The Da Vinci Robotic Surgery System?
The da Vinci robotic surgical system is a type of robot-assisted system. It provides surgeons with new tools to perform minimally invasive surgery.
The da Vinci robotic system consists of the following:
- Surgeon’s console: The surgeon sits at the console, controlling the instruments while viewing the patient’s anatomy in high-definition 3D.
- A patient’s cart: Positioned alongside the operating table, the patient cart holds the camera and instruments that the surgeon controls from the console.
- Vision cart: The vision cart makes communication between components possible and supports the 3D high-definition vision system.
The da Vinci Robotic Surgical Instruments are tiny wristed instruments that can open, close, and fully twist and turn with a greater range of motion than the human hand.
The da Vinci system translates the surgeon’s hand movements at the console so that the instruments mimic them in real-time. That means the surgical instruments will move exactly how the surgeon’s hands are moving at the console, except with more precision.
These instruments are much smaller than human hands, enabling surgeons to operate through one or a few small incisions and access hard-to-reach places.
The da Vinci Robotic 3D Camera consists of two high-resolution fiber optic cameras. It produces three-dimensional colored pictures of the surgical site in real-time. The surgeon operates the camera using foot pedals while comfortably seated at the console and can magnify the pictures 10-12 times.
What Surgeries Can The Da Vinci Robot Be Used For?
There have been millions of surgeries performed using the da Vinci system worldwide. The system allows surgeons to perform minimally invasive surgeries with tiny incisions and fewer stitches, unlike traditional surgeries that require longer, more invasive incisions.
Because of the da Vinci robotic system’s advanced technology, surgeons can use it to perform more complex operations they cannot do with laparoscopic surgery.
Possible surgeries using the da Vinci robotic system include the following :
- Cardiac (heart) surgeries: Mitral valve repair, coronary artery bypass.
- Colorectal surgeries: For Crohn’s disease, colorectal cancer, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, abscesses, blockages and ruptures of the large intestine, and rectal prolapse.
- General surgeries (abdomen and digestive tract): For conditions of the liver, stomach, pancreas, intestines, and gallbladder.
- Gynecology surgeries: For hysterectomy, endometriosis, pelvic pain, abnormal bleeding, fibroids, pelvic organ prolapse, incontinence, incompetent cervix, and gynecological cancers.
- Head and neck cancers
- Thoracic (chest) cancers
- Urology surgeries: For enlarged prostates, urologic cancers, and benign tumors.
The Da Vinci robotic surgery system is an advanced technology increasingly used in all surgical specialties. However, it is not suitable to treat every condition that requires surgery. The surgeon will assess the patient’s condition and decide on the best surgical option.
What Are The Benefits Of The Da Vinci System?
The da Vinci robotic system offers several benefits to both the surgeon and patient, including the following:
- Smaller incisions: It allows the surgeon to make smaller incisions with less tissue trauma compared to traditional surgery.
- Better precision: The da Vinci robot can filter out hand tremors, enhancing the accuracy of surgical maneuvers.
- Improved visibility: The magnification of the robotic cameras help the surgeons view the patient’s anatomy more clearly. Surgeons can also easily find and fix small “bleeders,” which increases clarity with the blood out of the way.
- Less blood loss: The smaller incisions and enhanced visibility can significantly reduce blood loss during surgery.
- More efficiency: The da Vinci robotic system allows surgeons to remain comfortable during the procedure and significantly reduces fatigue.
- Less pain for the patient after surgery because of the smaller incisions and reduced tissue trauma.
- Quicker recovery and return to normal daily activities after surgery.
- Less scarring.
- Fewer complications after surgery.
- Shorter hospital stays.
Because surgeons have greater visibility and surgical precision using the da Vinci surgical system, they can minimize damage to healthy tissue while operating.
What Are The Risks Of Da Vinci Robotic Surgery?
Like any other surgery, the da Vinci robotic surgery has some risks, including postoperative wound infections and bleeding.
However, this advanced surgical system minimizes the risks of complications after surgery.
The disadvantages of the da Vinci system are the following:
- The surgery will take longer to complete than traditional surgery
- The surgery may cost more than an open surgery
Although they take longer and may be more expensive, da Vinci robotic surgeries are as effective as open surgeries.
What Happens If The Da Vinci Robot Malfunctions During Surgery?
The da Vinci robotic surgery is generally safe and effective when performed by a skilled surgeon well-trained in the system.
It is unlikely for the da Vinci robotic system to malfunction during surgery. Nonetheless, if surgeons feel it is unsafe to continue using the da Vinci robot, they will withdraw the system and proceed with laparoscopic or traditional open surgery.
All the necessary surgical instruments will be ready for use in the unlikely event of a malfunction during robotic surgery.
Not all surgeons can use the da Vinci robotic system. This advanced system requires extensive training and surgical skills. Nevertheless, da Vinci surgeries are becoming more popular, and more surgeons are learning to use them.
Considering its benefits, you might discuss the possibility of robot-assisted surgery as an alternative to open or laparoscopic surgery with your healthcare professional.
List of Healthcare Providers Offering The Da Vinci Surgical System
Acibadem Healthcare Group
Acıbadem Hospitals Group is comprised of 22 hospitals and 15 outpatient clinics. Patients from around the world visit Acıbadem due to their high-quality services using the most advanced technology worldwide and with an expert team of international quality standards.
Acibadem Altunizade Hospital
Opened in 2017, Acibadem Altunizade Hospital comprises many full-featured units in Robotic Surgery, Cell Therapy, Spinal Health, and more. The hospital features cutting-edge infrastructure, medical technology, and professional staff following a multidisciplinary approach.
Acibadem Atakent Hospital
A JCI-accredited Academic Medical Center Hospital, Acibadem Atakent Hospital, offers diagnostic and treatment services in all medical departments. Opened in 2014, the hospital operates as a University Hospital of Acibadem Mehmet Ali Aydınlar University.
Acibadem Maslak Hospital
Located in Istanbul's business and financial district, Acibadem Maslak Hospital - the largest in the Acıbadem Healthcare Group - is a JCI-accredited hospital rendering services in all departments of medicine.
Astra Laparoscopic & Robotic Centre For Women and Fertility (ALRC)
Astra Laparoscopic & Robotic Centre is a health care provider for women in Singapore. With women’s health, its team also committed to providing international patient care.
Bumrungrad International Hospital
Bumrungrad International is a multi-specialty hospital located in Bangkok, Thailand. The hospital offers state-of-the-art diagnostic, therapeutic and intensive care facilities providing some of the best medical care in Bangkok.
Cromwell Hospital in London provides high quality private healthcare to both UK and international patients, with patients visiting from over 140 countries worldwide. The hospital has partnered with over 500 leading consultants across 70 specialties.
Gleneagles Hospital Kuala Lumpur
Gleneagles Kuala Lumpur comprises of a 372-bed, tertiary care hospital and a MOB Specialist Clinics building which accommodates the more than 197 specialist consulting suites.
Henry Ford Hospital
Founded in 1915 by auto pioneer Henry Ford, the hospital is committed to improving the health and well-being of a diverse community.
Hospital Quirónsalud Barcelona
Hospital Quirónsalud Barcelona is a leading Private Southern Europe healthcare center established 60+ years ago, providing all major medical facilities & treatments using the latest equipment.
Hospital Universitario Quirónsalud Madrid
Quirónsalud Hospital is a benchmark for private healthcare in the Madrid Region with a top-level team of professionals, cutting edge technology and personalized attention to patients.
Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital
Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital has established itself as a premier facility for in Mumbai. Besides general health checkups, the facility has cutting edge technology & full-time consultants from across the globe.
Medanta - The Medicity
Medanta – The Medicity is one of India’s largest multi-super specialty institutes located in Gurgaon. They have some of the best endocrinologists, gastroenterologists, heart specialists and many more in India.
Quirónsalud Hospital Group
Quirónsalud Hospital Group offers in Spain all medical specialties such as type II diabetes, oncology, pediatrics, orthopedic surgery as well as specialized centers for ophthalmology, cardiology & more.
QS Teknon Medical Center
QS Teknon Medical Center is one of the leading healthcare providers in Barcelona. Offering all major medical facilities such as Diagnostic Centers, Heart Institute's, Rehabilitation Facilities and Cosmetic Center.
Sana Hospitals Leipziger Land
The Sana Hospital Leipziger Land provides individually tailored multi-disciplinary medical care based on the latest scientific findings.
About the Author:
Dr. Mersad is a medical doctor, author, and editor based in Germany. He's managed to publish several research papers early in his career. He is passionate about spreading medical knowledge. Thus, he spends a big portion of his time writing educational articles for everyone to learn.
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