Type of Surgery
The Da Vinci Surgical System - Robotic Surgery Device
Last updated: 02/25/2010
The da Vinci Surgical System is among the most commonly used robotic surgery devices used in the world today. Rather than being a "virtual reality" of surgery or a robot doing the surgery by its own computer programming, the da Vinci Surgical System is composed of a number of robotic arms that are under the control of a surgeon, who is a few feet away from the patient during the entire surgery. The robotic arms of the da Vinci Surgical System are above the patient and gain access to the patient's internal organs through trocars, just as would occur in laparoscopic surgery.
The surgeon controls the da Vinci Surgical System by using a remote control of sorts. There is a control panel that has a monitor that shows images of the surgical field in real time. Also contained within this control panel are a number of specialized grips that correspond to the various robotic arms on the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System. These controls allow the surgeon to cut, clamp, and close-just like in a routine procedure.
The controls in the da Vinci Surgical System provide sensory feedback to the surgeon which is very important for performing most procedures. In other words, even though the surgeon is not touching the actual surgical instruments, da Vinci Robotic Surgical System generates some sensations in the controls to guide the surgeon's actions. The controls provide increased dexterity and some vibration control so that delicate procedures can be done more easily and precisely. Also, the magnified, three dimensional screen provides highly detailed and true to life images of the surgical field.
The instruments used in the da Vinci Surgical System are very small and require very small incisions. The manufacturers of the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System state that the robotic approach expands the number of procedures beyond what can be done by current laparoscopic surgical methods. Examples cited on the da Vinci Surgical System website include the treatment of:
- Bladder Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Gynecologic Cancer
- Heavy Uterine Bleeding
- Kidney Disorders
- Kidney Cancer
- Mitral Valve Prolapse
- Prostate Cancer
- Uterine Fibroids
- Uterine Prolapse
As of right now, the makers of the da Vinci Surgical System do not intend for this device to be used in telemedicine, that is, the surgeon can man the controls in one location while the robotic arms are placed over a patient in a remote location. While this is a theoretical application of the device, presumably it has not been used for that purpose. For now the surgeon is in the same room as the da Vinci Surgical System and can intervene in the surgery manually if the need arises.
The da Vinci Surgical System is not for everyone. Even the makers concede that the device is not right for every person or every type of surgery. There has been a strong push to get these devices into major surgical centers around the world. As a result, a number of surgeons are trained and able to use the da Vinci Surgical System for a variety of surgery types.
Last Updated: 02/25/2010
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