In recent years, the advent of minimally invasive surgery has greatly changed the way certain surgeries can be done. In minimally invasive surgery (also known as laparoscopic surgery), the surgeon uses an endoscope, a long, flexible tube with a camera and light attached. The endoscope is inserted into the body through a small incision. An image is sent to a monitor that the surgeon watches during the operation. The surgeon also makes other small incisions to insert the tools necessary to do the procedure.
In general, this approach is less traumatic than traditional open surgery, with smaller incisions, faster recovery and fewer side effects.
The da Vinci® Robotic Surgical System takes minimally invasive surgery one step further. The system gives the surgeon improved magnification, precise robotic movements and a three-dimension view of the surgical site, offering unmatched precision for performing a variety of procedures.
The da Vinci Surgical System is composed of four components:
- A surgeon console
- A computerized control system
- Four instrument “arms”
- A camera
To perform surgery, the surgeon makes small incisions to create “ports” near the area selected for surgery. The surgical instruments (attached to the robotic arms) and a camera are placed through the ports. During surgery, the surgeon views a three-dimensional image of the surgical site from the tiny camera placed inside the patient. At the console, the surgeon uses the robot’s arms to control the movement and placement of the surgical instruments. The robot’s “arm and wrist” movements mimic those of the surgeon.
As a type of minimally invasive surgery, robotic-assisted surgery offers many advantages over traditional, open surgery. These include smaller incisions with little scarring, less pain, minimal blood loss, reduced risk for infection, shorter hospital stay and faster return to normal activities.