5 Things To Know About da Vinci® Robotic Surgery
In 2000, the da Vinci® Surgery System became the first robotic surgery system approved by the FDA for laparoscopic procedures. Now, almost 20 years and six million global surgeries later, the da Vinci® Surgery System has become a commonality in countless minimally invasive surgeries—especially in urological or gynecological procedures.
Despite its countless successes, many people become nervous at the idea of a robotic surgery. After all, surgery is scary enough as is, and even more so when it’s aided by a robot. That is why we’re here ease your fears!
If you’re considering robotic surgery, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we cover all of the facts you likely didn’t know about the da Vinci® Surgery System. But before we get started, let’s first explain what the da Vinci® robot is and what procedures it can be used for.
da Vinci® Robotic Surgery System: What is it and what procedures can it be used for?
The da Vinci® Surgery System robots can be used in a variety of minimally invasive surgical procedures. Robotic surgery of this kind is very common in urological procedures, specifically in prostate cancer or bladder cancer procedures.
The da Vinci® robot is a small machine with a camera attached to it. This allows the doctor to make smaller incisions while getting an up-close, 3D image of the procedure. Contrary to popular belief, the robot is not the one completing the procedure! The da Vinci® Surgery System is merely a beneficial tool surgeons can use to precisely complete a delicate procedure.
This type of procedure isn’t designed for everyone though. Robotic surgery is not for every patient and it’s not for every procedure. Patients who have extensive cardiovascular problems or previous surgeries may not be good candidates for robotic surgery.
As with any procedure, we recommend talking with your surgeon to determine whether or not robotic surgery is an option for you.
Now that we’ve discussed what the da Vinci® robot is and what it can do, let’s dig into the little known facts about robotic surgery to provide you with a full understanding of how this system works.
5 Likely Unknown Facts About da Vinci® Robotic Surgery
1. Your Doctor Can See Exactly What’s Going On
As we mentioned earlier, many people are under the impression that the physician isn’t involved during a robotic surgery. This isn’t true, and your surgery won’t be handled and executed merely by a machine!
The surgeon controls the machine throughout the entire procedure, and can see exactly what’s going on. The camera on the da Vinci® robot shares a 3D high-definition image with the physician, allowing them a more precise look at what’s going on. This ensures that the procedure is carried out to exact standards and enables the robot to do a very precise job.
This level of visibility further explains why robotic surgeries are beneficial for difficult procedures. Even with a trained eye, a doctor’s normal vision simply can’t compare to the visibility provided by a 3D magnified screen.
This type of procedure also allows your surgeon to have more flexibility with your surgery due to the level of precision they are able to achieve. So, even during a complex robotic procedure, you’ll know you’re in good hands.
Want to see the da Vinci® robot in action?
Watch this video of the robot performing surgery on a grape.
2. There Is Typically Less Risk Involved
In comparison to conventional surgery, robotic surgery tends to have less associated risk. Due to the level of precision, the surgeon can make smaller incisions, resulting in a significantly lower chance of scarring or blood loss.
Plus, the mechanical arms on the robot are narrow, so it requires much less room to operate as opposed to a surgeon’s hands and tools. This makes for a minimally invasive procedure, typically resulting in less pain, less chance of infection and faster healing as opposed to traditional forms of surgery.
3. da Vinci® Robotic Surgery Causes Minimal Scarring
Since the da Vinci® robot is able to make such small incisions, it leaves behind minimal scarring. During conventional surgery, larger incisions must be made in order to give the surgeon room to operate. And as we know, large incisions typically leave behind noticeable scars.
However, the small, precise incisions made by a da Vinci® robot are able to leave behind minimal scarring. This is beneficial because excess amounts of scarring may cause pain or discomfort in the future. The smaller the incision, the smaller the scar and less risk of complications down the road.
4. Robotic Surgery Requires Less Down Time
Because robotic surgery is minimally invasive, a patient won’t need as long to recover from their procedure. During the procedure, small incisions are used to cut or remove minimal areas of the body. Once again, due to small, precise incisions, the patient won’t need as much time for the area to heal, thus resulting in less down time.
It’s not uncommon for patients of da Vinci® robotic surgery to spend little time in post-operative care and resume their regular routines quickly, unlike patients of traditional methods of surgery.
5. There Is Less Chance Of Serious Infection
Infection is always a top concern when performing any type of procedure, robotic or otherwise. A wound or incision that becomes infected could result in serious health concerns if not treated immediately, which is why the less that must be cut or removed, the better.
Since robotic surgery is minimally invasive, patients run a significantly lower risk of infection. This not only allows patients to maintain their health, but also return to their normal lifestyle without worrying about the risk of infection.
However, not every surgical procedure can be completed with robotic assistance, which is why it’s important to discuss your options with your doctor before considering robotic surgery.
da Vinci® Robotic Surgery At Urology Specialists of the Carolinas
Here at Urology Specialists of the Carolinas, we perform da Vinci® robotic surgery in cases of prostate or bladder cancer. We provide two types of robotic procedures:
- Robotic Cystectomy
- da Vinci® Robotic Prostatectomy
A robotic cystectomy is a minimally invasive surgical method for bladder cancer that utilizes the da Vinci® surgical system in which a robotic arm imitates the surgeon’s movements, amplifying their precision.
da Vinci® Robotic Prostatectomy
da Vinci® robotic prostatectomy is a minimally-invasive treatment option for patients with localized prostate cancer. Robotic prostatectomy may result in shorter recovery time, less blood loss and more precise visualization allowing for better functional outcomes.
If you have questions, or want to learn more about the da Vinci® Surgery System, reach out to us. We would be happy to answer any questions you have and provide you with any necessary additional resources.
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This blog was originally published on November 11, 2015. Content was refreshed on July 25, 2019.