For many years, surgery of the heart and other difficult-to-reach areas was performed through invasive procedures with large incisions and a high risk of complications. Although effective and often necessary, these procedures required a long recovery time and were seen as undesirable by most patients. In order to access the heart, the breastbone had to be split and the ribs pushed back.
As new technologies developed, simpler and less invasive procedures did as well. Laparoscopic procedures allowed doctors to access the heart through tiny incisions in which a camera and surgical instruments were inserted. Although less invasive, laparoscopy does not provide a very stable basis for surgery, as video images may be poor quality and the surgeon may have restricted control over the instruments.
Today, robotic-assisted surgery is the least invasive and often most effective procedure available. Addressing the shortcomings of other types of surgery, robotic surgery offers many advantages to both patient and doctor. It combines the effective control of open surgery with the less invasive approach of laparoscopy.
Robotic-assisted surgery is usually performed with the da Vinci® Surgical System, a console made by Intuitive Surgical that is considered the best in these types of procedures. The system is comprised of a surgeon console, where the surgeon sits and operates the master controls as he views the operating area through real-time images; the patient-side cart, which has four robotic arms that actually perform the procedure as well as provide images for the surgeon; and the EndoWrist instruments, which are the tools that perform the intricacies of the procedure and are completely controlled by the surgeon.
This approach offers patients effective treatment of their condition as well as:
- Less pain
- Less bleeding
- Less scarring
- Shorter recovery time
- Lower risk of infection
Robotic-assisted heart surgery is performed through tiny incision ports on the side of the chest, through which a camera and surgical instruments are inserted. They are carried to the heart by robotic arms, which are controlled by the surgeon. The surgeon has complete control over these arms throughout the procedure, as they mimic the movement of his own.
With the da Vinci Surgical System®, the surgeon views the operating field through a three-dimensional, magnified image within the console. The image can be manipulated as needed and provides a realistic view and improved visualization for performing the procedure.
Robotic-assisted surgery also offers surgeons an increased range of motion and the ability to make more precise movements than laparoscopic procedures. As an added benefit, robotic surgery allows surgeons to remain seated while performing procedures, allowing for comfort and a decreased risk of fatigue.
The robotic arms cannot make any movement or decision on their own, requiring commands from the surgeon as well as the presence of the surgeon’s eyes looking through the console.
Aside from heart surgery, robotic-assisted methods are also successful in treating gynecologic and urologic conditions, which are typically treated with open and invasive procedures. Robotic procedures help eliminate large incisions and long recovery times, taking much of the worry out of undergoing complex surgeries.
Although robotic-assisted surgery is considered a safe alternative to more traditional methods, it is not for everybody. These procedures require good overall health, and all options should be discussed with a doctor before any decision is made.
The da Vinci Surgical System®
Robotic-assisted surgery can be performed with the da Vinci Surgical System®, a state-of-the-art console that provides the advantages of minimally invasive techniques along with more precise procedures. The da Vinci Surgical System allows surgeons to perform complex procedures through robotic arms that mimic the movement of their own. These arms are inserted into the body through tiny incisions and then guided to the area to be treated. The surgeon can view the area through a lens in the console that offers a three-dimensional, magnified view, allowing for more precise procedures.
The da Vinci Surgical System® is used to stitch a grape back together. The same technology that can be used to suture a tiny grape is designed to help perform delicate, minimally invasive surgery.
The da Vinci Surgical System® is used for:
- Cardiac Surgery
- Colorectal Surgery
- General Surgery
- Gynecologic Surgery
- Head & Neck Surgery
- Thoracic Surgery
- Urologic Surgery
Our Surgeons Specializing in Robotic Surgery
- Michael Buckmire, MD, FACS, FASCRS
- Greg Rula, MD, FACS
- Jennifer Reitz, MD, FACS
- Richard Oh, MD, FACS
- Kevin Masur, MD
- Theodore Haley, MD, FACS
- Sumeet Kadakia, MD, FACS
- Matthew Marini, MD, FACS
- Susan Cortesi, MD, FACS
- Lawrence Damore II, MD, FACS
- Rita Hadley, MD, FACS, PHD
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