Da Vinci Robotic Surgery: How Does It Work?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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What is the da Vinci device?

The da Vinci device is a robot used to perform surgery. It is a computer-operated device designed to help a surgeon perform surgery using a minimally invasive approach. It is controlled by the surgeon and allows the surgeon to perform invasive surgeries without physically coming into contact with his or her patient’s body. The robot has interactive arms that hold the tools that are controlled by a trained surgeon via a console. This console is separate from the robot, and is similar to a control you would use for a video game. The console is designed with two eyeholes, a 3D image, and two hand controllers that move the robotic arms.

How does the da Vinci work?

The da Vinci consists of three main parts: 1) Surgeon console; 2) Patient side cart; and 3) Electronic cart. The surgeon console is where the surgeon operates the robot. From the console, the surgeon may view the surgical field and control the endoscopic instruments and the endoscope (an instrument used to view the insides of the body). The patient side card sits alongside the patient’s bed and contains the articulated robotic arms (usually 3 or 4) that are controlled by the surgeon. The robotic arms hold the instruments used by the surgeon. The electronic cart contains such supportive components as the electrical surgical unit, suction and irrigation pumps, insufflator, and a light source for the endoscope.

What is it used for?

The da Vinci System is used on a variety of surgeries. Since 2011, the number of surgeries using the da Vinci has increased from 359,000 in 2011 to 523,000 in 2013. Any type of surgery, with the exception of neurosurgery, can involve the use of the da Vinci robotic system. The more common procedures include: cardiac, gallbladder, gastric bypass, hysterectomy, prostate and thyroid.

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