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What is the da Vinci Surgical Robot? 

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The da Vinci surgical robot has revolutionized prostatectomy surgery by making it a more precise, minimally invasive procedure with excellent results.

One of the most common treatments for prostate cancer involves the surgical removal of the prostate gland, known as a radical prostatectomy. Traditional radical prostatectomy requires an 8- to 10-inch incision. This open surgery results in substantial blood loss, a lengthy recovery and the risk of impotence and incontinence.

In contrast, the da Vinci robot empowers a surgeon to perform a very precise, nerve-sparing operation through several dime-sized incisions. With this minimally invasive surgery, the goal is to accomplish internal repair while leaving the body surface as natural as it was prior to surgery.

For the patient, surgery using the da Vinci robot may result in more complete eradication of cancer, retention of bladder control and potency.

The da Vinci surgical robot has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in a variety of cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, urological and gynecologic surgical procedures.

The robot dramatically enhances visualization by presenting a 3-D view, rather than a two-dimensional view from traditional laparoscopic surgery. The precision, control and dexterity offered by the da Vinci system allow physicians to perform complex surgery in a more effective manner than open surgery or traditional laparoscopic surgery.

The da Vinci Surgery System cannot be programmed, nor can it make decisions on its own. It requires that every surgical maneuver be performed with direct input from your surgeon.

The da Vinci robotic tower consists of four separate arms positioned over a patient. One arm controls the camera device, while the other three control operating instruments. A full range of instruments are available to the surgeon, including instruments to grasp, cut, coagulate, dissect, and sew.

The surgeon sits comfortably at a console station and leans into a set of eyeglasses that provide the 3-D view of the surgical field. Below the viewing device are two robotic arm controllers that fit over the surgeon's thumb and index fingers.

By moving the arm controllers, the surgeon manipulates the robotic instruments inside the patient. The tips of the instruments will mimic exactly the motions the surgeon creates with his hands. By pressing a foot pedal, the surgeon can switch between instrument control and camera control to change the view of the field.

A separate video tower is placed at the patients side for the assistant surgeons to view the procedure. The console surgeon is only a few feet away from the patient, and an intercom device allows clear communication between the members of the surgical team.

The da Vinci prostatectomy Web site can provide you with more information.


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