Taking the Mystery Out of Robotic Surgery

December 12, 2013

By Swedish HealthWatch

Robots? Surgery?

The da Vinci® Surgical System is not an R2-D2™ or C-3PO™ robot. It is technology that helps surgeons perform delicate operations. Robotic surgery got its name because the surgeon does not directly hold the surgical instruments.

Robotic surgery is minimally invasive. It allows a surgeon to operate through several tiny incisions, rather than one large incision.

“Robotic surgery instruments are flexible. They mimic the surgeon’s hands and wrists,” says Julie LaCombe, M.D., a surgeon with Athena Urology and Urogynecology who performs robotic surgery at Swedish/Issaquah. “After we place the instruments in the body, we control their movements from the console. We can be very precise because we have a 3-D view inside the body.”

With any minimally invasive surgery (traditional or robotic) there is:

  1. Less blood loss
  2. Lower risk of infection
  3. Less pain after surgery
  4. Faster recovery

The robotic surgical system can be used by surgeons who specialize in: gynecology, urology, colon/rectal surgery, thoracic surgery (lungs and organs in the chest), heart surgery, and general surgery.

Swedish surgeons were among the first in the Northwest to perform robotic surgery. Because of their experience, they now teach surgeons from across the country. They also participate in research to expand its use.

Robotic surgery is available at Swedish/Edmonds, Swedish/First Hill and Swedish/Issaquah. For more information, visit www.swedish.org/robotics.