For more than 200 years, Penn has expanded the frontiers of medicine. Today, surgeons at Penn Medicine are leading the way in robotic-assisted surgery.
Penn is home to eight daVinci® Surgical Systems, making it one of the largest robotic-assisted surgical programs in the United States. The equipment has been used for some time in urologic/prostate procedures and cardiac surgery.
More recently, Penn surgeons have begun using the surgical system in gastrointestinal, gynecological and head and neck operations.
Benefits of Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery in Treating Urologic Conditions
Minimally invasive surgery performed through small incisions results in significantly less trauma and blood loss. Some of the other benefits include:
- Less post-operative pain
- Less scarring
- Shorter hospital stay on average
- Faster recovery to normal activities
There are advantages for the surgeon as well. The robotic arms eliminate even the smallest, barely noticeable human hand tremors, making movements remarkably steady. In addition, the camera provides surgeons with a 10 times magnified, three-dimensional image of the anatomy.
How Robotic Surgery Works
Robotic-assisted surgery is similar to other minimally invasive surgery, in that instruments and cameras are inserted through small incisions.
The difference is the use of the robotic surgical platform. While using the platform, the surgeon is seated at a console nearby the patient. This console is connected to a side cart with four working arms. These arms actually hold the instruments that the surgeon remotely controls from the console – one arm holds the camera and the other three arms hold the laparoscopic instruments. While seated at the console, the surgeon is presented a three-dimensional, high-quality image sent back by the camera and maneuvers the surgical arms using hand and foot controls, which duplicate the surgeon’s exact hand movements.
The quality of the images and precise movement of the surgical arms essentially immerses the surgeon in the area in which he or she is operating. The result is surgery that is minimally invasive with precision that rivals open surgery.
It is important to note that robotic-assisted surgery is performed by a surgeon – not a robot. The robotic equipment is a tool for skilled surgeons, enhancing their ability to provide the best care for their patients. The success of robotic-assisted surgery depends on the skill and experience of the physicians and the supporting team members, not solely on the equipment.
We perform a variety of minimally invasive, robotic-assisted surgeries and procedures to treat urologic conditions.