The boundaries of minimally invasive surgery is being expanded by incorporation of robotics into surgical technique. The da Vinci Robotic Surgical System, developed by Intuitive Inc., represents the very cutting edge of technology for application to surgery.
Robotically assisted surgery has the benefit of applying detailed surgical precision by using the robot arms to provide steady, ultrafine movements in small spaces and on delicate tissues. Procedures which where once thought to be too difficult to be performed laparoscopically can now be performed through robotic assist. The end result is the application of "minimally invasive techniques" to a broader range of diseases processes ultimately allowing more types of surgeries to be completed with smaller incisions and faster recovery.
The patient side robotic cart pictured above docks with the patient to provide to the tools and 3-D vision that allows more complex surgery to be performed.
The surgeon console, pictured in the foreground, provides the means to control the robotic arms and contains small stereoscopic monitors which allows the surgeon to see a true 3-D image of the operative field.
In general, any operation that can be performed laparoscopically already could be performed with robotic assist. Certain common procedures already performed laparoscopically are done so effeciently that application of robotic assist is not practical. The more complex the procedure, however. the more likely it may benefit from robotic assist. When seeing your surgeon about a specific problem or procedure, ask them is robotically assisted surgery would be right for you.
Learn more about the da Vinci robotic surgical system and its application to minimally invasive surgery by clicking on the links below.