Several types of hernias may occur. In many cases, a minimally invasive repair can be indicated, and a mesh generally is used to close the defect. Because of the limitations of laparoscopic surgery, special clips are used to fix the mesh in place. In many cases, robotic technology can reduce the use of those foreign bodies to fix the mesh, allowing for a strong fixation. The repair of hernias can be fast and safe with just three small incisions. The increased precision of the computer-assisted instruments has the potential for a more precise dissection and preservation or nerves, with anticipated lower postoperative pain. Most of those surgeries are performed as outpatient procedures, and patients usually go home the same day of surgery.
The spleen is a solid organ that sits under the ribcage on the left side of the body and plays a role in helping to fight infection and recycling blood cells. Several hundred splenectomies are performed each year in the United States to treat cysts or other benign lesions. Cysts can cause acute pain, and sometimes total removal of the spleen is a common treatment. Surgeons at UI Health performed the first robot-assisted, auto-transplantation of a spleen. In this procedure, the patient's spleen was removed from the body to excise a cyst, then the organ was replaced, reconnecting it to the blood vessels.
The esophagus connects the throat to the stomach, and it runs in between the abdomen, chest, and neck. Surgical access to the esophagus always is challenging, as it often requires multiple incisions in those different regions in order to have good control and exposure of the anatomy.
Robotic surgery allows for small incisions, and, overall, reduces trauma associated with incisions.
For cancer patients, the removal of the lymph nodes and draining the diseased area is very important, and the computer-assisted technology can help enhancing precision during those steps. Robotic surgery also offers an effective alternative for benign disease like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and achalasia, with increased precision, fast recovery, and reduced postoperative pain.
These surgeries - such as visceral aneurysm resection with reconstruction, and vascular bypass - are performed in collaboration with the Division of Vascular Surgery at UI Health. Thanks to the enhanced dexterity and unique suturing capabilities of the robot, it is possible to intervene on vessels using small incisions with enhanced precision and accuracy compared to open surgery. The computer-enhanced movements of the instruments, together with improved and magnified visualization of the anatomical structures, make this approach an alternative to open surgery for selected cases. For some diseases, it is possible to repair defects of vessels that otherwise would require the complete removal of the organ or permanent closure of the vessel involved.