The da Vinci® Surgical System is the first operative surgical robotic system approved by the FDA. It has been approved for use in performing many surgical procedures, including general laparoscopic surgery, thoracoscopic (chest) surgery, laparoscopic radical prostatectomies, and thoracoscopically-assisted heart procedures.
According to Intuitive Surgical, the da Vinci® Surgical System is currently being used in major medical centers in the United States, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and around the world.
The da Vinci® prostatectomy uses a robotic surgical system that builds upon the laparoscopic approach and adds a few new benefits:
- The robot has four arms attached to a freestanding cart. One arm holds a camera (the laparoscope) and the surgeon operates the “hands” on the other three arms by inserting his or her fingers into rings and using foot controls.
- The arms have EndoWrists - flexible wrists that bend and twist like human wrists.
- The surgeon uses hand movements and foot pedals to control the camera, adjust focus, and reposition the robotic arms.
- A robotic “arm” surgical system is used to control the endoscopic instruments instead of direct manipulation by the surgeon’s hands. These arms remain steady at all times and electronically dampen the “shake” of the human hand.
- Robotic surgical systems have a three-dimensional lens system, which also magnifies the surgical field up to 10 times. Surgeons have three-dimensional vision instead of the two-dimensional vision with regular laparoscopic procedures. Magnification improves the ability to recognize and control bleeding from small vessels and reduces blood loss.
- The visualization system requires the pressure in the abdominal cavity be increased. This has the added benefit of decreasing the amount of blood usually lost from blood oozing from the veins during surgery.