What is robotic-assisted surgery?

Robotic-assisted surgery technology provides surgeons with enhanced detail and precision to simulate open surgery while allowing doctors to perform complex procedures through a few tiny incisions.

Is a surgeon using the da Vinci® Surgical System operating in "virtual reality"?

Although seated at a console a few feet from the patient, the surgeon views an actual image inside the patient’s body while operating in real-time using electromechanically enhanced instruments. At no time does the surgeon see a virtual image, or program the system to perform any independent maneuvers outside of the surgeon's direct, real-time control.

What is minimally invasive surgery (MIS)?

MIS is surgery typically performed through small incisions – also known as operating ports or keyhole incisions – rather than large incisions required for direct, manual access to the target anatomy. For the patient, MIS means there is greater potential for less pain, less blood loss, a shorter recovery, fewer complications, reduced hospitalization costs and faster return to normal daily activities.

Will the da Vinci Surgical System make the surgeon unnecessary?

On the contrary, the da Vinci System is designed to allow surgeons to operate with greater precision, visualization, dexterity and control. It advances their techniques and enhances their ability to perform complex minimally invasive surgery. The System translates the surgeon's hand movements in real time to its miniaturized instruments, while using motion scaling and tremor reduction to improve precision. The system can never be programmed to make decisions on its own or perform any surgical maneuvers without the surgeon's direct input via the console hand controls.

What are the benefits of using the da Vinci Surgical System compared to traditional methods of surgery?

Some of the major benefits for the surgeon have been greater surgical precision, increased range of motion, improved dexterity, enhanced 3DHD vision and improved access. Potential benefits for the patients can include: a shorter hospital stay, less pain, less risk of infection, less blood loss, fewer transfusions, less scarring, faster recovery and a quicker return to normal daily activities. None of these benefits can be guaranteed, since surgery is specific to each patient and procedure.

Is this "robotic surgery?"

Robotic surgery devices are designed to perform entirely independent movements after being programmed by a surgeon. The da Vinci Surgical System is a computer-enhanced system that introduces a leading edge computer interface and 3DHD vision system between the surgeon's eyes, hands and the tips of micro-instruments. The system mimics the surgeon's hand movements in real time. It cannot be programmed, nor can it can make decisions on its own to move or perform any type of surgical maneuver. So while the general term "robotic surgery" is often used to refer to our technology, it is not robotic surgery in the strictest sense of the term.

While using the da Vinci Surgical System, can the surgeon feel anything inside the patient's chest or abdomen?

The system relays some force feedback sensations from the operative field back to the surgeon throughout the procedure. This force feedback provides a substitute for the actual sense of touch and is augmented by the enhanced vision provided by the high definition 3D view. While surgeons are not able to touch or feel the anatomy as in open surgery, they indicate that the improved visualization, precision, dexterity and control that da Vinci offers more than compensates for the loss of touch.