The science of surgery continues to evolve and change. Advances in robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgery mean patients have more treatment options than ever before.
Robotic surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery that’s performed through tiny incisions and includes a camera arm and mechanical arms with surgical instruments attached to them. The robot doesn’t perform the surgery – the surgeon controls the arms as they’re seated at a computer console nearby. This console gives the surgeon a magnified, high-definition view of the surgical site. Advances in the instruments allow the surgeon to move their wrist and hands in a 360-degree rotation. A built-in motion filtration system minimizes tremor, and foot pedals also allow for movement of different parts of the robot inside the patient.
In some cases, robotic surgery technology allows surgeons to perform complex procedures with greater precision, flexibility and control than is sometimes possible with traditional techniques. But for some people, a laparoscopic approach is best.
“Some procedures have a definite advantage because of the range of motion and improved visualization that the robot provides,” says Heath Giles, M.D., board certified general surgeon with University Surgical Associates who routinely performs robotic surgery for hernia repair and gallbladder removal. “Several robotic procedures can also be done laparoscopically, but for some people the robot offers decreased post-operative pain.”
As the technology evolves, so will the type of surgeries that can be performed using this robotic surgery. Currently it’s used for many types of procedures, including gynecologic, urologic, thoracic, cardiac, colorectal and general surgery. And newer devices added to the surgical system in recent years have also expanded the surgeon’s capabilities.
W. Heath Giles, M.D.
Shauna Lorenzo-Rivero, M.D., FACS, FASCRS
These including a stapling module and FIREFLY, a 3D vision system that uses fluorescence imaging to give the surgeon real-time, image guided identification of internal structures. For people with rectal cancer or colorectal issues, robotic surgery can decrease the amount of time a person spends in the hospital for recovery to one to two days.
Is Robotic Surgery Right for You?
“For the right patients, robotic surgery provides another option that surgeons and patients can consider when planning effective treatment,” Dr. Giles says. “University Surgical is focused on caring for the right patient, at the right time, and using the right method. This is just one more tool we have to provide the highest quality care.”