|Putting the surgeon’s hands at the controls of a state-of-the-art
robotic platform, robotic-assisted surgery enables surgeons at VCU
Medical Center to offer patients a minimally invasive option for complex
and delicate surgical procedures.
For the patient, benefits may include significantly less pain, less
blood loss and scaring, shorter recovery times, a faster return to
normal activities and better clinical outcomes. The robotic surgery
system allows the surgeon to perform highly intricate and delicate
operations with greater precision, offering the most effective, least
invasive surgical treatment option available.
How is robotic-assisted surgery different from open surgery?
In traditional laparoscopic surgery, surgeons operate with long
non-wristed instruments (similar to chopsticks in each hand). This
technique can be awkward and cumbersome, especially in small places. The
robotic system provides dramatically better dexterity, control and
In normal open surgery, long incisions (as large as 6-12 inches) are
required to access the surgery site. With minimally-invasive
robotic-assisted surgery, surgery is performed through dime sized (1/4
How exactly is robotic-assisted surgery performed?
- The surgeon makes small incisions into which he or she then
inserts the surgical instruments, along with a tiny video camera that
sends a video of the surgical site to a screen the surgeon monitors
during the surgery.
- The robot arms hold the instruments but the surgeon is in
complete control. The robot seamlessly replicates the surgeon’s wrist,
hand and finger movements into exact real-time—but scaled-down—movements
of the surgical instruments inside the patient’s body.
- Two high-resolution fiber-optic cameras produce a true 3-D color
picture to help the surgeons clearly view the surgical area, which is
critical when performing delicate procedures.