Robotic surgery is a method to perform surgery using very small tools attached to a robotic arm. The surgeon controls the robotic arm with a computer.
You will be given general anesthesia so that you are asleep and pain-free.
The surgeon sits at a computer station and directs the movements of a robot. Small surgical tools are attached to the robot's arms.
Robotic surgery is similar to laparoscopic surgery. It can be performed through smaller cuts than open surgery. The small, precise movements that are possible with this type of surgery give it some advantages over standard endoscopic techniques.
The surgeon can make small, precise movements using this method. This can allow the surgeon to do a procedure through a small cut that once could be done only with open surgery.
Once the robotic arm is placed in the abdomen, it is easier for the surgeon to use the surgical tools than with laparoscopic surgery through an endoscope.
The surgeon can also see the area where the surgery is performed more easily. This method lets the surgeon move in a more comfortable way, as well.
Robotic surgery can take longer to perform. This is due to the amount of time needed to set up the robot. Also, some hospitals may not have access to this method. However it is becoming more common.
Robotic surgery may be used for a number of different procedures, including:
Robotic surgery cannot always be used or be the best method of surgery.
The risks for any anesthesia and surgery include:
Robotic surgery has as many risks as open and laparoscopic surgery. However, the risks are different.
You cannot have any food or fluid for 8 hours before the surgery.
You may need to cleanse your bowels with an enema or laxative the day before surgery for some types of procedures.
Stop taking aspirin, blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin) or Plavix, anti-inflammatory medicines, vitamins, or other supplements 10 days before the procedure.
You will be taken to a recovery room after the procedure. Depending on the type of surgery performed, you may have to stay in the hospital overnight or for a couple of days.
You should be able to walk within a day after the procedure. How soon you are active will depend on the surgery that was done.
Avoid heavy lifting or straining until your doctor gives you the OK. Your doctor may tell you not to drive for at least a week.
Surgical cuts are smaller than with traditional open surgery. Benefits include:
Reviewed By: Sovrin M. Shah, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Urology, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.