Robotic Surgery: Frequently Asked Questions
What is robotic surgery?
According to Intuitive, the company that makes the da Vinci robotic surgical system, it is "remote activated or user-manipulated motion control, imaging and communication devices, operated via computer hardware and software to enable physicians to conduct an increasing array of surgical procedures in a minimally invasive manner." In other words, it is a device controlled by the surgeon which uses computer assistance to improve on the benefits of laparoscopic surgery over traditional open surgery.
What are the advantages to robotic surgery?
Robotic surgery allows surgeons to perform minimally invasive surgeries with the control, range of motion and 3-D visualization of traditional "open" surgery with the added advantages of less bleeding, less pain and scarring, shortened hospital stays, and quicker recovery time. For prostate procedures, robotic surgery may improve the ability to spare the nerves that are important in limiting the side effects like incontinence and impotence. For all patients, the small incisions create less trauma, a swifter return to mobility and day-to-day activities, plus more cosmetically pleasing results.
What are some procedures that can be performed robotically?
Robotic surgery is becoming the treatment of choice for men undergoing radical prostatectomy. Adult and pediatric urologists also utilize it for corrective or extirpative procedures of the kidneys and bladder as well. Gynecologists perform hysterectomies and removal of fibroid tumors. Cardiac Surgeons perform mitral valve repair and coronary artery bypass surgery. General Surgeons make use of it across a wide array of procedures such as bariatric, esophageal and colorectal surgery.
What is the role of the physician if the procedure is being done by a robot?
The procedure is done by the surgeon with the aid of computer assisted robotic technology. In the operating room, the surgeon sits at a console with his hands on the master controls and each eye focused on a separate screen resulting in a 3-D image of the surgical field. From the patient-side cart, three robotic arms and one endoscope arm precisely translate the surgeon's movements through small incisions in the patient.
How do I know if robotic surgery is right for me?
If you are facing a surgical procedure, ask your doctor if robotic surgery might be an option for you. As with any surgery, each case is unique and the surgeon must consider each patient's individual condition. For more information on whether robotic surgery might be an option for you or your loved one, contact www.mountainsideroboticsurgery.com or www.intuitivesurgical.com.
James Saidi, MD
Montclair Urological Group
Glen Ridge, NJ
The following post-surgical instructions are available for patients to download or print out: