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Clinical Corner

Meet da Vinci - our robot in the OR

It's not science fiction, it's reality - a robot that allows surgeons to operate with extreme precision, but without a major incision. BIDMC's Dr. Drew Wagner, director of minimally invasive urologic surgery, introduces us to da Vinci.

1. What is the da Vinci Surgical System?

The da Vinci® Surgical System is a robotic surgical device which allows a surgeon to perform complex minimally invasive surgery while seated at a console near the patient. The properly trained surgeon can control miniature surgical instruments that are inserted through tiny incisions, all while viewing the body's interior through a high definition 3D camera.

2. For what procedures will da Vinci be used?

The da Vinci can be used for various procedures, but at this time are using it at BIDMC to perform nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy on patients with prostate cancer.

3. What are the benefits for patients?

The system allows the surgeon to operate with the precision of traditional open surgery, but without a major incision. Instead, the surgeon uses small incisions common to minimally invasive surgery (or laparoscopy). Patients experience less post-operative pain and less intra-operative blood loss than with traditional open surgery.

3. What are the benefits for the surgeon?

Procedures performed with da Vinci provide surgeons with improved visualization of the surgical site, due to enhanced magnification, high definition optics and a 3-D view. The da Vinci system also allows precise control and manipulation of fine surgical dissecting instruments such as is possible with open surgery but is usually not possible through traditional laparoscopy without the da Vinci robot. The surgeon can control the instruments while seated, allowing improved comfort during complicated procedures.