From July 2013, the doctors in this practice will be able to offer patients an option to have their surgery performed with the help of a Robot.
Robotic assisted surgery has been around in the USA for a few years. In its developmental phase, robotic surgery was incredibly expensive and hence prohibitive for most Hospitals and patients.
However, with the advances in the technology, the cost has dropped very significantly. This new form of surgery is now available in selected hospitals in NSW. It will increasingly be used to perform complex Gynaecological procedures. The surgeons in this practice have access to the Da Vinci robot at Westmead Private hospital. We are currently undergoing a very intensive training program in order to perfect our techniques using this technology. Please be mindful that this is a different & improved way of doing the same surgery in which we already have considerable expertise.
Please read the questions below to understand this technology better.
What is Robotic Surgery / Robotic Assisted surgery / Da Vinci Robot?
Da Vinci is the name of the robot. Your surgeon is still the person performing this surgery. When your Surgeon uses this technology to complete an operation, it is called Robotic Assisted or Robotic surgery. The Da Vinci robot uses advanced technology that allows the surgeon to get a magnified view and work closer to the surgical site than human vision will allow. It also allows work at a smaller scale than conventional surgery permits. Vision is improved for the doctor because he has access to surgery under 3 D.
What are the benefits of robotic surgery?
Less risk of complications
It provides the surgeon with:
Magnified 3D view
Ability to work closer to the surgical field
More precision for complex surgery
More flexibility & control of instruments than standard surgery
Minimizes hand tremor giving machine-like smooth movements
Does the Robot perform the surgery?
No. The robot cannot perform the surgery on its own. It cannot make any decisions regarding your surgery. Your Surgeon is the primary operator and has full control of the robot at all given times. Just like a traditional surgeon uses instruments to perform open cut surgery or a laparoscopic surgeon uses laparoscopic instruments to perform the operation; similarly a robotic surgeon uses the robot as his instrument to perform the surgery. It is a very intricate and complex new tool under the control of the doctor.
Will all gynaecological surgery now be done using the Robot?
No. Robotic surgery is not used for all procedures. All surgery that can be done laparoscopically can now be done using the robot, however, traditional open surgery and laparoscopic surgery have their indications and can be more beneficial in some selected cases. Your surgeon will discuss the various options available to you depending on your individual circumstances.
How is surgery performed using the Robot?
Your doctor will make 3-4 tiny incisions (about the thickness of a pencil) on your abdomen. He will then insert small cannulae (tubes) into these holes. He then introduces special rods (instruments & camera) via the tubes. The rods have surgical instruments that are able to dissect and suture the tissue. One of the rods has 2 special camera systems in-built to provide the surgeon with 3D vision. The Da Vinci robot has 3-4 robotic arms, which now attach to these special instruments. This entire process is called ‘Docking the Robot’. Unlike in conventional surgery, the doctor does not touch these surgical instruments directly.
Sitting at the control console a few feet from the operating table, the surgeon looks into a viewfinder to examine the 3-D images being sent by the camera inside the patient. The images show the surgical site and the two or three surgical instruments mounted on the tips of the surgical rods. The surgeon uses joystick-like controls located underneath the screen to manipulate the surgical instruments.
Each time the surgeon moves one of the joysticks, a computer sends an electronic signal to one of the instruments, which moves in sync with the movements of the surgeon's hands in real time. Working together, surgeon and robot can perform complete surgical procedures without the need for large incisions. Once the surgery is complete, the surgeon removes the rods from the patient's body and closes the “keyhole” incisions.