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Facts About da Vinci® Surgery

By DuPage Medical Group Robotic Surgery

The da Vinci Surgical System is a tool that utilizes advanced, robotic, computer and optical technologies to assist your surgeon with your operation. It does not act on its own and its movements are controlled by your surgeon. The da Vinci Surgical System has a 3D high definition (3D-HD) vision system, special instruments and computer software that allow your surgeon to operate with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control. The 3D-HD image is highly magnified, so your surgeon has a close-up view of the area he or she is operating on. The da Vinci instruments have mechanical wrists that bend and rotate to mimic the movements of the human wrist – allowing your surgeon to make small, precise movements inside your body. And, da Vinci software can minimize the effects of a surgeon’s hand tremors on instrument movements.

What is da Vinci Surgery and how can it help me?

da Vinci Surgery is a less invasive technique than what is referred to as “open” surgery. With da Vinci Surgery, the cuts (incisions) made in your body by your surgeon are much smaller than the cut made during open surgery. da Vinci Surgery is therefore considered “minimally invasive surgery.” Studies of da Vinci Surgery have shown the following benefits in comparison to open surgery:

  • A shorter hospital stay
  • Less blood loss
  • Fewer complications
  • Less need for narcotic pain medicine
  • A faster recovery 
  • Smaller incisions associated with minimal scarring

Since its introduction, da Vinci Surgery has greatly reduced the number of open surgeries for common operations (such as hysterectomy and prostatectomy). Thanks to da Vinci technology, more patients have been offered minimally invasive surgery (MIS) than at any other time in history.

For more information about clinical evidence related to da Vinci Surgery, please visit www.intuitivesurgical.com/company/clinical-evidence.

Surgical Risks

Serious complications may occur in any surgery, including da Vinci Surgery, up to and including death. Examples of serious and life-threatening complications, which may require prolonged and/or unexpected hospitalization and/or reoperation, include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following:

  • Injury to tissues and/or organs
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Internal scarring that can cause long-lasting dysfunction or pain

Patients should consider that risks of any surgery also include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Potential for human error
  • Potential for equipment failure
  • Potential for anesthesia complications

Individual surgical results may vary.

Risks specific to minimally invasive surgery, including da Vinci Surgery, include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Temporary pain and/or nerve injury associated with positioning;
  • Temporary pain and/or discomfort from the use of air or gas in the procedure;
  • A longer operative time and time under anesthesia;
  • The need to convert the procedure to an open surgery;
  • Converting the procedure could result in a longer operative time, a longer time under anesthesia, and/or the need for additional or larger incisions and/or increased complications.

Medical Advice & Surgeon Training

Patients should talk to their doctor to decide if da Vinci Surgery is right for them. Other options may be available and appropriate. Only a doctor can determine whether da Vinci Surgery is appropriate for a patient’s situation. Patients and doctors should review all available information on both non-surgical and surgical options in order to make an informed decision.

About the da Vinci® Surgical Systems
The da Vinci® Xi™ System

Launched in April, 2014, the newly refined da Vinci Xi Surgical System is the latest addition to the da Vinci® product line. The da Vinci Xi System has broader capabilities than prior generations of the da Vinci System. It can be used across a wide spectrum of minimally invasive surgical procedures and has been optimized for multi-quadrant surgeries (procedures in which instruments must be able to reach up and down and across the abdomen or chest).

Compared to prior da Vinci Systems, the da Vinci Xi System’s key features include:

  • A new overhead instrument arm architecture designed to facilitate anatomical access from virtually any position.
  • A new endoscope digital architecture that creates a simpler, more compact design with improved visual definition and clarity.
  • An ability to attach the endoscope to any arm, providing flexibility for visualizing the surgical site.
  • Smaller, thinner arms with newly designed joints that offer a greater range of motion than ever before.
  • Longer instrument shafts designed to give surgeons greater operative reach.
About the da Vinci® Si™ System:

Launched in April 2009, the da Vinci Si Surgical System offers several enabling features, including:

  • Dual surgeon-console capability to support training and collaboration during minimally invasive surgery.
  • High-definition 3D vision
  • An updated user interface for streamlined setup and OR turnover
  • Extensibility for digital OR integration
da Vinci Technology

More recent models of da Vinci Systems all retain and build on the core technology at the heart of prior-generation da Vinci Systems:

  • Advanced 3D-HD visualization, which provides a highly magnified, immersive view of the operative field
  • EndoWrist instrumentation, which offer dexterity and range of motion far greater than even the human hand
  • Intuitive® motion technology, which preserves natural eye-hand-instrument alignment and intuitive instrument control

Together, these technological advancements provide surgeons unparalleled precision, dexterity and control for the performance of minimally invasive surgery. As with all da Vinci Systems, the newly redesigned da Vinci Xi Surgical System offers numerous features designed to provide the following potential benefits:

  • Surgeon control and ergonomic comfort
  • Patient safety
  • OR efficiency
  • Integrated technology and data

Firefly™ Fluorescence Imaging Vision System

The Firefly Fluorescence Imaging Vision System enables surgeons to use a special video camera and glowing dye to view blood flowing in vessels, and tissue or bile moving through ducts during minimally invasive surgical procedures. When a surgeon uses the Firefly camera, healthy structures appear green but those without blood flow appear gray.

The da Vinci Fluorescence Imaging Vision System is intended to provide real-time endoscopic visible and near-infrared fluorescence imaging. The da Vinci Fluorescence Imaging Vision System enables surgeons to perform minimally invasive surgery using standard endoscopic visible light as well as visual assessment of vessels, blood flow and related tissue perfusion, and at least one of the major extrahepatic bile ducts (cystic duct, common bile duct and common hepatic duct), using near infrared imaging.

Fluorescence imaging of biliary ducts with the da Vinci Fluorescence Imaging Vision System is intended for use with standard of care white light and, when indicated, intraoperative cholangiography. The device is not intended for standalone use for biliary duct visualization.

Clinical evidence:
  • With thousands of peer-reviewed publications examining the use of the da Vinci Surgical System in a wide range of surgeries, the breadth and depth of literature on surgery using the da Vinci Si or prior-generation systems is extensive. 
  • Recent clinical literature studying the da Vinci Si and/or prior-generation systems includes several studies that use national databases to evaluate thousands of patient's surgical outcomes. These studies compare da Vinci Surgery to non-robotic-assisted approaches for specific procedures, such as prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) and hysterectomy (removal of the uterus). There are no clinical data currently available for the da Vinci Xi Surgical System. The da Vinci Xi System is not specifically cleared for use in prostatectomy. It is cleared for use in urologic surgical procedures.
  • For prostatectomy, two larger representative studies on the da Vinci Si and/or prior-generation systems demonstrate that da Vinci Prostatectomy is safer than the prior standard of open surgery across a large number of patients. These studies show that complications, death, blood loss, and length of hospital stay are all substantially better for da Vinci Prostatectomy by a statistically significant margin. 
  • For hysterectomy, two representative studies on the da Vinci Si and/or prior-generation systems show that da Vinci Hysterectomy is safer than hysterectomy performed through an open incision and as safe as laparoscopy. These studies also show a shorter length of hospital stay for the group of women who were qualified to have a minimally invasive hysterectomy performed with either laparoscopy or da Vinci Surgery. 
  • Today, studies of the da Vinci Si and/or prior-generation systems show that da Vinci Surgery is clearly displacing traditional open surgery and reducing the complications and costs associated with it. For more information on the safety of da Vinci Surgery, please visit www.intuitivesurgical.com/company/media/backgrounders/safety.
da Vinci System Description

There are several models of the da Vinci Surgical System. The da Vinci Surgical Systems are designed to help doctors perform minimally invasive surgery. The da Vinci Surgical System is not programmed to perform surgery on its own. Instead, the surgery is performed entirely by a doctor, who controls the system. da Vinci Systems offer doctors high-definition 3D vision, a magnified view, and robotic and computer assistance. They use specialized instrumentation, including a miniaturized surgical camera and wristed instruments (i.e., scissors, scalpels and forceps) – that are designed to help with precise dissection and reconstruction deep inside the body.

When is the da Vinci System Used?

One or more of the da Vinci Surgical System models are commercially available for use in the following specialty areas:

  • Urologic surgery
  • General laparoscopic surgery
  • Gynecologic surgery
  • Trans-oral robotic surgery restricted to benign (non-cancer) and malignant tumors (cancer) classified as T1 and T2 (early stage cancer)

da Vinci Systems are used on adults in the specialty areas described above. They are also used in pediatric surgery (on children), except for conditions affecting the head and neck (transoral surgery). 

Talk to your doctor about whether they use the da Vinci System within these specialty areas. Please consult your surgeon for questions about the model of the da Vinci System to be used in your procedure. 


© 2014 Intuitive Surgical, Inc. All rights reserved. 

Topics and Subtopics: General Health

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