Robotic surgery does not only exist in science fiction. It is a real-life technique that allows surgeons to operate on patients with control and access to hard-to-reach areas. Robotic surgery is a technique that allows a physician to perform an operation using a computer that remotely controls tiny instruments attached to a robot.
Saint Louis University Hospital has expanded its surgical services and is now offering robotic surgery with the da Vinci® Surgical System. Doctors use the system’s robotic hands to perform surgical tasks for procedures such as radical prostatectomy and kidney tumor removal.
Throughout these procedures, physicians sit comfortably at the da Vinci® console. They direct the tiny robotic-like instruments to make small incisions that typically cause less trauma on the body. The system filters and translates the surgeon’s hand movements into micro-movements of the instruments. At the same time, doctors can view a 3D image of the surgical site on a high-definition monitor by inserting a miniaturized camera into the patient.
Robotic surgery is similar to laparoscopic surgery, where instruments are inserted through small incisions and the physician can view images on a two-dimensional video monitor. However, laparoscopic surgery is challenging because the physician must look at the monitor and move the instruments at the same time. During robotic surgery, the physician has a better view of the area being operated on, sits in a more comfortable position, and can move in a more natural way.
Potential benefits of robotic-assisted surgeries may include:
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