Robots in the operating room?
What do you think of when you hear the word “robot?” WALL-E? C-3P0?
The robot they use is called the da Vinci® Xi. It’s the latest model of the da Vinci® Surgical System and was created in 2014.
During surgery, a physician stands next to the patient to make sure the robotic arms are positioned correctly. The surgeon then manipulates the camera and robotic arms from a nearby computer-driven console.
“One thing that should be clarified and often causes confusion for patients is the idea of robotic surgery,” says Dr. Bardezbanian. “It should truly be called computer-assisted laparoscopic surgery, as the robot does not perform the surgery; the surgeon does through the use of the robot.”
At Advocate Christ, these surgeons perform a variety of surgeries with the da Vinci® such as colorectal cases, inguinal hernias, abdominal wall reconstruction, foregut surgery, adrenalectomies and even some pancreatic cases.
“The robot is useful because it has advanced dexterity and can rotate or move in ways the human hand can’t,” says Dr. Thill. “This helps us perform minimally invasive surgeries that leave less scarring and can result in quicker recoveries with shorter hospital stays.”
“Robotic surgery has completely changed my practice when it comes to inguinal hernias,” says Dr. Badezbanian. “When I did them open, the patient would be off work for four to six weeks minimum. They often required narcotics and refills, plus I would typically see them two to three times after surgery. With robotic surgery, my inguinal hernia patients are now typically back to normal life after two weeks. They require little to no narcotics, and I see them once after surgery.”
Additionally, Dr. Bardezbanian says robotic surgery for abdominal wall reconstructions is a “complete game changer”. He explains patients typically have to stay four to six days after surgery if the procedure is done open, but with robotic surgery, patients can go home one day after surgery. He has even sent two of his patients home on the same day.
Dr. Timbers says she was trained to use the robot throughout her residency. She believes more residency programs are training residents to use robots as they are becoming more advanced and applicable across many different surgical fields such as urology, gynecology and plastics.
Dr. Thill, who wasn’t trained to use the robot during his residency because the robot didn’t exist yet, says any surgeon can be trained to use the da Vinci® Xi.
“The surgeon will have to undergo a series of modules that can take anywhere from three to six months or longer, based on how much time the surgeon has to focus on them,” says Dr. Thill. “Training typically includes simulation on the robot as well as work in both pig and cadaver labs. Surgeons are also typically proctored for their first four cases with the robot.”
As a leader in robotic surgery, Advocate Christ has skilled surgeons who use this breakthrough technology to treat conditions such as:
- Atrial septal defects
- Mitral valve disease
- Coronary artery disease
- Reflux disease
- Lung and esophageal cancers
- Prostate, bladder and kidney cancer
- Uterine fibroids
- Uterine and vaginal prolapse
- Urologic problems
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.