Robotic Surgery FAQs

Robotic Surgery FAQs

What is robotic surgery?

Answer:

Robotic surgery, also known as robot-assisted surgery, is a method that allows doctors to perform various medical procedures with a higher degree of precision. Conventional methods rely solely on the skill of the doctor’s hands and vision, whereas robotic surgery uses the power of technology to specify exact measurements and placement. Robot-assisted surgery extends the capabilities of the eyes and hands of a surgeon to provide enhanced precision.

  • Input precise measurements
  • Guide the robot with minimal invasion
  • Less blood
  • Less scarring

How does robotic surgery work?

Answer:

In a robotic surgery environment, the surgeon will make tiny incisions in the patient where small instruments will be inserted into the patient, along with a high-definition three-dimensional camera. Depending on the type of procedure, the surgeon may not have to cut the patient at all.  The surgeon is in the operating room at a console where they control the instruments that he or she uses to perform surgery.  The Da Vinci robots at Baylor Frisco provide a 3D high-definition view, giving surgeons a crystal clear view of the surgical area that is magnified 10 times what the human eye sees.  The surgeon uses tiny instruments that move like a human hand but with a far greater range of motion.

  • Miniscule instruments
  • Minimally invasive
  • Minimal damage to surrounding tissue
  • Less downtime

The instruments and camera can be controlled by the surgeon in a way that minimizes the amount of damage that is done to the tissue during the surgery. As the surgeon performs the procedure they will be able to control the instruments with extreme precision using a combination of software and hardware that is specifically designed to perform minimally invasive procedures on patients.

Is there an actual robot performing the surgery?

Answer: No.  Several surgical technologies are linked to a computer system that serves to improve the surgeon’s range of motion and vision.  A combination of enhanced dexterity and precision is provided with the robotic arm.  The surgeon is in total control, using a tiny camera with a 3D definition view and precise instruments for procedures.  The robot cannot be programmed and it cannot make any movements on its own

How long does a robotic hysterectomy take?

Answer:  A hysterectomy is a surgery to remove the uterus, and possibly the ovaries and fallopian tubes.  There are several conditions that may prompt your doctor to recommend a hysterectomy.  They range from benign (noncancerous) conditions, like endometriosis or fibroids, to cancer conditions, like endometrial or uterine cancer.  While the number of women who receive hysterectomies has declined over the last several decades, approximately 400,000 women in the U.S. still receive hysterectomies each year.  The length of time it takes for a robotic hysterectomy depends on the type of hysterectomy and the surgeon performing the surgery, but generally this type of procedure takes 3-4 hours.

What specialties utilize robotic surgery?

Answer:  Robotic surgery is a viable solution for many different kinds of specialties from gynecology to cardiovascular. Robotics are even used to cut away cancerous cells from sensitive parts of the body such as nerves, and blood vessels. Some of the more popular specialties are:

  • Bariatric or Weight Loss Surgery
  • General Surgery
  • Colorectal Surgery
  • Gynecology
  • Gynecologic Oncology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Urology

The very fact that a robotic device can be programmed to cut with such precision in minuscule areas that it is ideal for safe and effective procedures that require less invasive techniques and less downtime.

What surgeries are done using robotics?

Answer: Robotic surgery is a revolutionary method of surgery that can be used on a vast number of various surgeries. The technology behind the robotic method was developed so that many common procedures can be done with less invasion, less pain, and less downtime. Some of the surgeries that surgeons can perform with robotics are:

  • Bariatric/Weight Loss Surgery
  • Hysterectomy
  • Gallbladder removal
  • Coronary artery bypass
  • Mitral valve repair
  • Tubal ligation
  • Radical cystectomy
  • Pyloroplasty

Since the robotic arm and the surgical instruments are so tiny, doctors can successfully complete a serious procedure without adding excessive injury to the patient. As the instruments cut into the patient, the arm is guided by motion that can be programmed to the tiniest and most accurate measurements. This accuracy leaves no room for human error, therefore, cutting down the risk of accidental injury. The end result is a type of surgery that is faster, cleaner, and less invasive than conventional surgery.

Is robotic surgery painful?

Answer: Any surgery will most likely be painful in one way or another. However, when it comes to robotic surgery since the instruments are so tiny and the measurements of the cuts are extremely precise there will be less damage than open surgery.

  • Smaller surgical instruments
  • Smaller incisions
  • Precisely measured cuts
  • Less damage to tissues

A skilled surgeon will be sure to alleviate pain as much as possible and allow the patient to be as comfortable as they can be. Since robotic surgery is much less invasive and does not require larger incisions to accommodate hands or larger instruments it is generally less painful and has a faster healing time than regular surgery. 

What are the advantages of robotic surgery?

Answer: Robotic surgery offers many benefits to patients compared to open surgery including:

  • Shorter hospitalization
  • Reduced pain and discomfort
  • Faster recovery time
  • Faster return to normal activities
  • Smaller incisions, resulting in less risk of infection
  • Reduced blood loss and fewer blood transfusions
  • Minimal scarring

Is robot-assisted surgery appropriate in every case?

Answer: No.  While robot-assisted surgery is an effective option for many people.  It is not the appropriate method for every case.  Your physician will review your specific procedure along with the risk factors, lifestyle, and conditions that apply to each individual case.

What should I look for when looking for a robotic surgeon?

Answer:  The experience, training, and volume of a hospital’s program are truly important.  Ask your surgeon about his or her level of experience using a robot-assisted method of surgery.  It is important to feel confident that you are receiving the highest quality care from an experienced surgeon who is part of an established program.  At Baylor Frisco, our experts are at the forefront of minimally invasive robotic surgery.  Our surgical leaders are highly specialized and use the latest technologies along with continuous training simulations to perfect their skills.