At UI Health, robotic surgeries are performed using the da Vinci Surgical System, a sophisticated robotic platform designed to enable surgeons to perform complex surgeries using a minimally invasive approach. The da Vinci System is devised to efficiently replicate the movements of the surgeon's fingers and wrists. The instruments' jointed-wrist design exceeds the natural range of motion of the human hand; motion scaling and tremor reduction further interpret and refine the surgeon's hand movements. A 3D stereo viewer is designed to provide surgeons with an immersive experience. Unlike conventional approaches, the target anatomy appears at high magnification, in brilliant color and with natural depth of field. A final hallmark of the da Vinci System is its fail-safe design, incorporating multiple, redundant safety features designed to minimize opportunities for human error when compared with traditional approaches.
On the bad days, I told myself, "Just keep pushing. Rest. And then push!"
Robotic Surgery vs. Conventional Laparoscopy
Robotic surgery is a remarkable improvement over conventional laparoscopy, in which the surgeon operates while standing, using handheld instruments. With conventional laparoscopy, the surgeon must look up and away from the instruments to a nearby 2D video monitor to see an image of the target anatomy. The surgeon also must rely on his/her patient-side assistant to position the camera correctly. In contrast, robotic surgery allows the surgeon to operate from a comfortable, seated position at the console, with eyes and hands positioned in line with the instruments.
By providing surgeons with superior visualization, enhanced dexterity, greater precision, and ergonomic comfort, robotic surgery makes it possible for more surgeons to perform minimally invasive procedures involving complex dissection or reconstruction. This ultimately raises the standard of care for complex surgeries, translating into numerous potential patient benefits.
Advantages of Robotic Surgery
There are numerous advantages of robotic surgery compared to open surgery:
- Smaller incisions: The size of the incisions required for open surgery are much bigger than the ones made to fit the surgical tools used with robotic surgery.
- Reduced blood loss and need for transfusion: Increased dexterity and better vision translates into a potential for reduced blood loss and reduced likelihood for blood transfusion.
- Reduce post-operative pain: Because of the small incisions and surgical tools, surgery is overall less traumatic and less painful than the traditional open surgery.
- Shorter hospital stays: With reduced surgical trauma, consequentially the recovery is faster than the open surgery.
- Minimal scarring: Small incisions translate into minimal scarring.
- Fewer post-operative complications: A large wound has an increased risk of developing infections and hernias, and the rate of complications increases with the size of the wound. Because of the small surgical tools and the small incisions, the incidence of wound infections and hernias are dramatically reduced.
- Faster recovery: With a less traumatic surgery experience, patients can more quickly return to daily activities.
- Faster chemotherapy: Because of the faster recovery and the reduced risk of complications, we have observed that patients that need further cancer treatments, like chemotherapy, have more chances to start those treatments earlier.
- Safer surgery: Robotic devices incorporate a sophisticated system of infrared cameras that allow surgeons to identify in real time important anatomical structures like vessels, biliary ducts, lymph nodes, and cancer tissue, and increase the effectiveness and safety of surgery.