A robotic-assisted laparoscopy, a recent innovation in minimally invasive surgery, allows surgeons to more precisely perform complex operations through small incisions—rather than one long incision, as is common in traditional open surgery—using a robotic system, which includes a camera arm and several mechanical arms with joints that work like a human wrist, thus affording the surgeon more flexibility and control. In addition, using robotic-assisted laparoscopy, surgeons can better visualize the operating field than they may be able to do with traditional laparoscopic techniques—thus giving them the benefits of both laparoscopy and open surgery.
There are several types of robotic-assisted laparoscopies, including procedures to treat various abdominal cancers, heart disease and gynecological conditions, as well as gynecological surgeries such as hysterectomy and myomectomy. However, not all individuals are good candidates for this type of procedure, so you should talk with your doctor about whether robotic-assisted laparoscopy can benefit you.
Generally, these procedures offer patients less trauma and blood loss, and a shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery than they would have with open surgery.
How is robotic-assisted laparoscopy performed?
In a robotic-assisted laparoscopy, the surgeon guides the system’s mechanical arms from a remote console a few feet from the surgical table. The surgical are is displayed in a 3D magnified view on a monitor, allowing the surgeon greater depth perception and more detailed views that he or she would have even in an open surgery.
Using two hand-and-finger devices on the remote console, the surgeon precisely directs the mechanical arms at the operating table. This type of surgery can be especially helpful in delicate or complex surgeries, as it makes it easier for surgeons to avoid tissues and nerves surrounding the surgical area.
Most procedures take two to three hours and are performed under general anesthesia.