Robotic surgery: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

da Vinci™ robotic surgical system:

Frequently asked questions: click here or read below:

1. Will a surgeon using the da Vinci® robotic surgical system operate in “Virtual Reality?”

Although seated at a console a few feet away from the patient, the surgeon views an actual 3-D image of the surgical field while operating, real-time, with electro-mechanically enhanced instruments through tiny ports. At no time does the surgeon see a virtual image or program/command the system to perform any maneuver or operate outside of his/her direct, real-time, control.

2. Will the da Vinci® robotic surgical system make the surgeon unnecessary?

On the contrary, it will enable surgeons to be more precise, advancing their technique and enhancing their capability to perform complex minimally invasive surgery.

3. Is this telesurgery? Can you operate over long distances?

The da Vinci Surgical robotic surgical system theoretically be used to operate over long distances. This capability, however, is not the primary focus of the company and as such is not available with the current da Vinci system.

4. Is this “robotic surgery?”

“Robotic surgery” devices are designed to perform entirely autonomous movements after being programmed by a surgeon. The da Vinci system is a computer-enhanced surgical system, which interposes a computer between the surgeon’s hands and the tips of micro instruments. 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.

5. Where is the da Vinci system being used now?

Currently, the da Vinci Surgical System is being used in major centers in the United States, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden , Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

6. What procedures have been performed using the da Vinci? What additional procedures are possible?

The da Vinci system is a platform technology designed to enable complex procedures of all types to be performed through tiny ports. To date, hundreds of procedures including cardiac, general, urologic and gynecologic have been performed using the da Vinci. We believe, in the future, the technology will be used by surgeons specializing in vascular, orthopedic, spinal, neurologic and other surgical disciplines to offer their patients the option of minimally invasive surgery for the first time.

7. Why can’t surgeons perform complex procedures such as cardiac surgery through 1-centimeter ports today?

Cardiac surgery is complex and requires an excellent view of the operative field and the ability to maneuver instruments within the chest cavity with precision and control. Surgeons historically have used the “open sternotomy” approach, which requires a large 12-inch incision that provides visibility and allows room for the surgeon to get his hands and instruments very close to the operative site. More recently, smaller incisions have been used to perform a variety of cardiac procedures. Many surgeons, however, feel the smaller access restricts operative view and may impede access to the operative field.

8. What are the benefits of using the da Vinci system?

For the surgeon, the ability to perform complex minimally invasive procedures as if they were open surgery. For the patient, numerous benefits common in existing minimally invasive surgery procedures - such as reduced trauma, less pain, lower cost, shorter hospital stay and faster recovery are possible.

9. Has the da Vinci system been FDA approved?

On July 11, 2000, Intuitive Surgical received clearance from the FDA to begin commercializing the da Vinci Surgical System in the United States for use in laparoscopic surgical procedures. Additionally, on March 2, 2001, the manufacturer received its second FDA clearance for thorascopic procedures. And on May 30, 2001, the FDA cleared the da Vinci Surgical System for laparoscopic radical prostatectomy procedures. This makes the da Vinci Surgical System the only FDA-cleared, complete robotic surgical system commercially available in the United States for laparoscopic and thoracoscopic procedures.

University of Iowa Healthcare.

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