Da Vinci Surgial System

The da Vinci® Surgical System

daVinci with logo 11-8-10The robot-assisted da Vinci Surgical System offers a minimally invasive alternative to traditional surgery. Advances in robotics and computer technology allow surgeons to operate with more precision, using a few tiny incisions instead of one large one. The combination of a high-definition, 3-D camera and delicate robotic instruments allows surgeons to perform precise movements that the human hand cannot perform alone.

Harrison Medical Center is committed to providing patients with the most comprehensive and specialized care using the da Vinci Surgical System, powered by the latest advances in robotics and computer technology. To learn more about this technology, visit the da Vinci Surgical System website.

How do patients benefit from robotic-assisted surgery?

Robotic-assisted surgery often has many advantages when compared to traditional open surgery. Your doctor will determine what type of surgery is best for your particular condition.

During a da Vinci surgical procedure, a patient’s abdomen is filled with carbon dioxide (an inert gas), which creates a large space in which the surgeon can operate. Bleeding during the procedure usually is much less compared to open surgery. This is because the gas creates pressure, which gently compresses tissues and results in much less bleeding.

The da Vinci's computer-enhanced, 3D, high-definition vision system provides a remarkably crisp, clear, view of the intricate tissues in the operating field. Blood transfusions are rarely required and patients typically do not need to donate blood before robotic-assisted surgery.

Robotic-assisted surgery patients commonly recover quickly and begin drinking liquids right after surgery. Most are able to eat a regular diet for dinner the day of their surgery. Pain after surgery is often minimal and is treated with mild pain medication.

Most patients are walking, eating, and are able to return home the day after surgery. After the return home, recovery also can be quick. While there often are no food restrictions, your surgeon may ask you to avoid vigorous physical activity until your incisions are healed.

What other benefits can patients expect?

Robotic-assisted surgery provides a high level of accuracy that allows delicate and complex surgical procedures to be performed safely and efficiently. Patients who undergo a da Vinci surgical procedure often experience the following:

  • Less blood loss
  • Less risk of blood transfusion
  • Less risk of wound infection
  • Shorter surgery procedure time
  • Less pain after the procedure
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Shorter recovery
  • Less scarring due to smaller incisions
  • Quicker return to daily activities

Is da Vinci robotic-assisted surgery safe?

Robotic-assisted surgery, in general, is very safe. Surgeons around the world use the da Vinci Surgical System on a daily basis with great success. There are numerous safeguards built in to the system.

Your surgeon always will be in control of your surgery and the robotic-assisted tools. If there is a computer malfunction, the robotic system automatically will default to a safe mode that immediately halts all movement. The instruments then can be removed from the patients surgical site.

This is a rare occurrence that triggers a temporary sensor alert. Once the alert has been addressed, the procedure can be completed. If the system cannot be used to complete the surgical procedure, your surgeon will finish with either a standard laparoscopic technique or a traditional open surgical technique.

How are patients prepared for a da Vinci surgical procedure?

While there are many precise steps involved in each type of robotic-assisted surgical procedure, many patients undergoing surgery for prostatectomy or hysterectomy undergo similar aspects of preparation, positioning, and access.

Patients generally are instructed not to eat or drink anything for at least eight hours before surgery. Antibiotics will be given before surgery. Once the patient is completely under anesthesia, he or she will be positioned with the arms tucked at the side and the legs slightly spread apart and bent at the knees with the table tilted.

A small urinary drainage catheter is inserted into the urethral opening to empty urine from the urinary bladder. A spring-loaded, blunt-tip safety needle is carefully inserted into the abdomen above the belly-button. Inert carbon dioxide gas is pumped into the abdominal cavity (not the intestines). Once the abdomen is filled, small robotic instrument ports and a robotic camera port is placed through small incisions about one centimeter each. Once this is complete, the da Vinci robotic surgical cart is brought closer to the patient and carefully docked to the robotic ports.

How is a da Vinci surgical procedure performed?

After the patient is prepped and the equipment is in place, the surgeon will go to the da Vinci surgeon's console. Looking through the stereoscopic viewfinders, the surgeon is able to see a computer-enhanced, 3-D image of the inside of the abdomen and pelvis. Your surgeon tailors the instruments and techniques he or she will use to your specific procedure.

When the procedure is complete, a soft plastic drain sometimes is placed through one of the incisions. (This drain usually will be removed before the patient goes home.) All skin incisions are closed with dissolving sutures or skin glue.

A portion of this content was provided by Intuitive Surgical. For more information, visit the da Vinci Surgical System website.