4 Questions You May Have About Robotic Surgery
A robot performing surgery may sound like something out of the future or another galaxy, but it’s not new, in fact robotic surgery dates back to 1985. However these robots aren’t like your standard Star Wars-like droids who can perform on their own, your surgeon is 100% in control of the robot at all times
Robot-assisted surgery, or robotic surgery, allows doctors to perform many types of complex procedures with more precision, flexibility and control than conventional surgical techniques. Robotic surgery uses a small mechanical arm and wrist to mimic a surgeon’s hand movements, but with far greater rotation and dexterity. Through the use of robotic surgery, delicate and complex procedures are possible, some of which may not have been possible using other traditional methods.
One of the most widely used robotic surgery systems is the daVinci Surgical System. It was first approved by the FDA in 2000. With this system, the surgeon controls the robot while seated at a computer station within the surgical suite. This console gives the surgeon a magnified, 3D view of the surgical location. Through small keyhole sized incisions, the surgeon uses a powerful, high-precision endoscopic camera and specialized surgical instruments. daVinci Surgery is commonly used for colorectal, general, gynecologic, head & neck and urologic surgery.
There are many patient benefits including:
- Smaller, less noticeable scars
- Quicker recovery and return to a patient’s normal lifestyle
- Significantly less pain
- Decreased blood loss in some procedures
Robotic surgery is not right for everyone or every procedure. You should talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks for your particular surgery and how it compares with other techniques available. However, there are no specific patient qualifications to be or not be a candidate for robotic surgery.
Surgery is not a small undertaking, so make sure you feel comfortable with your doctor and what procedure they are going to perform. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion if you are having a major surgery to talk through other surgical options to find what is best for you.
As with any major surgery performed under general anesthesia, there is a certain amount of risk including heart attack, stroke, and death. All patients undergo a preoperative assessment to determine a patient’s overall health as part of a standard surgical evaluation.
Robotic surgery provides physicians with state-of-the-art technology to better serve their patients. Robotic surgery systems give physicians the ability to operate with enhanced vision, precision and control.
While technology continues to improve, your surgeon is still the one piloting the robot. Make sure you discuss all options with your doctor to determine which type of procedure is best for your personal situation.