The Houston Northwest Medical Center is now performing surgical procedures with the help of robotics. The hospital is using the da Vinci Surgical System which allows the physician to perform surgery by exercising remote control of robotic arms through a computer.
Jonathan Hulme, an obstetrician/gynaecologist at the hospital explained that the patients operated this way recover faster and experience less pain and bleeding. The risk of getting infected was much lower and the surgery leaves a smaller scar when compared to conventional open surgery.
While performing robotic surgery the physician sits in front of a computer and controls the robotic arm which actually performs the surgery. Ends of the robot arms have tiny instruments attached to them that are made to enter the patient through small incisions. The robotic arm movement matches that of the doctor’s hand movements. The physician gets to see a magnified, three-dimensional representation of the body part which is being operated on the display with the help of a camera fitted at the edge of a thin tube. Currently, the hospital is performing robotic assisted surgery for operating hysterectomies and ovarian cysts. The difference in laparoscopic procedures and robotic procedures is that the latter provides more degrees of freedom, up to seven degrees of freedom like the human wrist compared to four degrees of freedom allowed in laproscopy. The main advantages of robot assisted surgery are improved precision, the robotic arm moves only half inch for every one inch movement of the physician, and the ability to reach hard-to-reach areas easily with smaller incisions.