Frequently Asked Questions
About Robotic Surgery
Q: Why is the Robotic Surgery System called the da Vinci® S Surgical System?
The product is called "da Vinci" in part because Leonardo da Vinci invented the first robot. He also used unparalleled anatomical accuracy and three-dimensional details to bring his masterpieces to life. The da Vinci Surgical System similarly provides physicians with such enhanced detail and precision that the system can simulate an open surgical environment while allowing operation through tiny incisions.
Q: Is a surgeon using the Robotic System operating in "virtual reality"?
Although seated at a console a few feet away from the patient, the surgeon views an actual image of the surgical field while operating in real-time, through tiny incisions, using electromechanically enhanced instruments. At no time does the surgeon see a virtual image or program/ command the system to perform any maneuver on its own/outside of the surgeon's direct, real-time control.
Q: What is Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS)?
MIS is surgery typically performed through small incisions, or operating ports, rather than large incisions, resulting in shorter recovery times, fewer complications, reduced hospitalization costs and reduced trauma to the patient. MIS has become standard-of-care for particular surgical procedures; it has not been widely adopted for more complex or delicate procedures - for example, prostatectomy and mitral valve repair.
Intuitive Surgical believes that surgeons have been slow to adopt MIS for complex procedures because they generally find that fine-tissue manipulation - such as dissecting and suturing - is more difficult and less precise than in open surgery. Intuitive Surgical's technology, however, enables the use of MIS technique for complex procedures.
Q: Will the Robotic System make the surgeon unnecessary?
On the contrary, the da Vinci System enables surgeons to be more precise, advancing their technique and enhancing their capability in performing complex minimally invasive surgery. The system replicates the surgeon's movements in real time. It cannot be programmed, nor can it make decisions on its own to move in any way or perform any type of surgical maneuver without the surgeon's input.
Q: What are the benefits of using the Robotic System over more traditional methods of surgery?
Some of the major benefits experienced by surgeons using the da Vinci S Surgical System over traditional approaches have been greater surgical precision, increased range of motion, improved dexterity, enhanced visualization and improved access. Benefits experienced by patients may 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. Individual results may vary.
Q: While using the Robotic 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 tactile sensation and is augmented by the enhanced vision provided by the high-resolution 3D view.
Q: What type of surgical procedures are currently available using the Robotic System?
Specially trained surgeons, including gynecologic oncologists, pediatric urologists, a pediatric surgeon, reproductive endocrinologist, a bariatric surgeon, a cardiac surgeon and urologists are performing the following; prostatectomies; hysterectomies; tubal ligation reversals; removal of ovaries; fallopian tubes and fibroid tumors; kidney reconstructive surgery; surgical weight loss; cardiac surgery; and other delicate procedures using robotic surgery.
Q: How do I find a robotic surgeon at Abington Memorial Hospital?
Abington Memorial Hospital has several surgeons on staff trained in robotic surgery. For more information, please call our Physician Referral Service at 215-481-6334.