The evolution of technology has translated into evolving surgical techniques. What once required a “stem-to-stern” incision, a week long hospital stay, scarring and delayed return to work, now can be accomplished with few 1 inch incisions. With the advent of laparoscopy, or surgery using a camera and tiny incisions, a superior option emerged. Minimally invasive surgery utilized miniature instruments through ports in the abdomen. Smaller incisions allow minimal disruption of tissues inside, less pain leading to shortened hospital stays, and quicker return to work.
Technology continued to evolve and improve upon minimally invasive surgery. The laparoscope and instruments were perfected and adapted to perform like never before. Whereas the laparoscopic instruments are stiff and straight, the flexibility of the wristed robotic instruments make operating easy. The instruments within the patient mirror my hands at the console to allow maximal control with the same range of motion as my actual wrists and hands. This equates to 540 degrees of movement to allow me to reach around structures or lift them away to keep them protected during the operation. In addition, the robot has a third working arm to allow me an extra hand while operating. I can hold a piece of tissue in place to perform the needed intervention.
With the high definition three dimensional camera, not only am I closer to the anatomy I am interested in, but the picture is more detailed than if the patient were open. I actually feel like my face is inside the patient! I can more safely identify the structures I need to fix (and maneuver around the ones I need to miss.) The robotic platforms flexibility allows me to operate in regions of the abdomen otherwise restricted by anatomy. This includes previously scarred abdomens, deep into the pelvis and high beneath the diaphragm. Most importantly for my patients, the ease of operating with the robot translates into smoother recovery for them. Because there is less manipulation of tissues, less pulling on the abdominal wall, smaller incisions and a quicker operation, the patient has less pain and faster return to normalcy. One patient, who had his colon removed robotically, would have typically had over a week stay in the hospital and several weeks off of work. Because we used small incisions and could safely avoid complications, he stayed one night in the hospital and took no pain pills!
Most surgeries can be converted to the robotic platform but only if it is safe and the appropriate method. Contact me today to find out if your surgery can be robotic!