DaVinci Robotic System
Is using robotic technology in operating rooms safe and beneficial? The first robotic surgery used Robodoc in 1992 to successfully replace a hip on a 64-year old man. Since that time the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the da Vinci Robotic System to be used for minimally invasive procedures. With over 2,000 surgical robots sold in the U.S over the past decade and the 30% increase in the number of robotic procedures, we questions is this robotic system all that is cracked up to be?
What is the da Vinci Robotic System?
The da Vinci Robotic System is powered by robotic technology allowing the surgeon’s hand movements to move tiny instruments with fine precise movements inside a patients’ body. One of the tiny instruments is a laparoscope, a thin tube with a tiny camera and light at the end. This camera helps the operating surgeon by guiding him/her as the camera sends images to a video monitor.
The system consists of a surgeon’s console that is generally in the same room as the patient along with a patient side cart which is where the patient is positioned during surgery. This side cart has four robotic arms which are controlled by the surgeon from the console. Three of these arms hold tools that act as scalpels, bovies, graspers or scissors. These arms are wristed instruments that bend and rotate like the human hand but sometimes rotating far greater than the human hand.
What are the medical uses?
The medical uses for the da Vinci system consist of the following:
- Cardiac Surgery
- Colorectal Surgery
- General Surgery
- Gynecologic Surgery
- Head and Neck Surgery
- Thoracic Surgery
- Urologic Surgery
What are the benefits of using this new robotic technology?
Surgeons see many advantages to performing procedures using robotic technology. In a typical 2-D video monitor the surgeon must look up and away from the instrument to view a image of the target anatomy. However, the 3-D technology benefits the surgeons by:
- expanding the surgeon’s field of vision
- reaching into tighter spots and move in ways that human hands cannot
- the machine’s software correcting for a surgeon’s hand tremor
For the patient, this robotic system provides the following benefits:
- Allows for minimally invasive incisions
- Less blood to be lost
- Less scarring
- Quicker recoveries
- Shorter hospitalization
- Reduced pain and discomfort
What are the negative benefits of using this new robotic technology?
With all types of surgeries there are risks involved, this includes robot technology and here a few of them:
- Being held in unnatural positions to accommodate the side patient cart
- Burns from the electric current
- Doctors don’t receive tactical feedback that comes from cutting directly into a patient’s tissues
- System malfunctions
- Surgeons do not receive extensive training on how to use the system
With better accuracy, flexibility and control the da Vinci system seems to be a better alternative than open surgery and robot technology appears to be the future but do these outweigh the risks of death and injuries.