Robotic Surgery Q & A 

How does robotic surgery with the da Vinci S Surgical System work?

During a robotic surgical procedure, the surgeon sits in the system console a few feet away from the patient. The surgeon looks through the vision system—like a pair of binoculars—inside the patient’s body. The system provides a three-dimensional view of the surgical site with magnification 10 times that of the naked eye.

The surgeon moves the handles on the console to control the robot’s arms holding the micro-surgical instruments. These handles make movements easier, reduce surgeon fatigue and remove the risk of unsteadiness or shaking. The computerized robotic “hands” mirror the natural motions of a surgeon. After the initial incision, only the robotic hands touch the patient.

What are the advantages?

The robotic system makes it possible for surgeons to perform complex, delicate procedures through small, key-hole sized incisions. It gives our surgeons:

  • four arms
  • three-dimensional vision
  • enhanced dexterity
  • the ability to perform minimally invasive procedures rather than traditional open surgeries

The robotic hands can do surgical tasks beyond the capabilities of human hands or the laparoscope. Robotic surgery places a computer between the surgeon's hands and electromechanically-enhanced micro instruments.

What does minimally invasive mean?

Minimally invasive surgeries are done through small incisions rather than large incisions that may cut across large areas of tissue. Often special instruments and visualization are needed.

What are the benefits of minimally invasive procedures?

When procedures are performed through small incisions, there is less bleeding, pain and risk of infection as well as faster recovery times and shorter hospital stays. Patients may return more quickly to normal living.

Some studies show improved clinical results for robotic surgery. For example, da Vinci prostatectomy has been shown to substantially reduce post-operative pain while hastening recovery. Studies also indicate that this procedure may offer improved cancer control along with a lower incidence of impotence and urinary incontinence.

What procedures can be done with the robotic system?

Urological, gynecological and general surgeries can be done with the robotic system. At West Boca, minimally invasive prostatectomy and hysterectomy are common robotic procedures.

Who performs robotic procedures?

West Boca surgical teams have undergone extensive training to use the system. To be selected for training on the system, surgeons must display specific qualifications and skills. After they have completed training, they are credentialed and certified.

How long has robotic surgery been performed?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the da Vinci S Surgical System in 2000, making it the first robotic system allowed inside American operating rooms. There are extensive clinical studies of the effectiveness and patient benefits of this robotic surgical system.