Robotic-Assisted Surgery has opened a new frontier in laparoscopy. (To read general information about laparoscopic surgery, click here.) Robotic-Assisted Surgery enhances laparoscopy in two main ways. It allows for better visualization of the patient’s tissues, and it allows for improved dexterity and finer surgical precision at the surgical site.
Usual laparoscopic surgery is performed with a camera that provides a two dimensional image on a standard TV monitor. The camera is hand-held, typically by an assistant. With Robotic-Assisted Surgery, the surgeon sits at a special console and sees the image through a viewer, which is connected to a specially designed 3-D camera. The surgeon therefore has a full 3-D view that allows for a high-definition visualization of the operative field and an ability to see the relationship of structures in three-dimensional space. Furthermore, a stable robotic arm under the surgeon’s control holds the camera. The camera is therefore always directed exactly where the surgeon wants it, and any shaking or unsteadiness of the image is eliminated. This enables the surgeon to see far greater detail of the patient’s anatomy, allowing him to perform the operation more effectively.
Traditional laparoscopic instruments are straight and can grasp, cut, or cauterize. There is some limitation of the range of motion at the tip of the instrument. Instruments in Robotic Surgery have “wrists” that mimic the movement of the surgeon’s hands . This allows for greater dexterity of the surgical instrument compared to traditional laparoscopic surgery. The surgeon can therefore operate with greater precision, and the ability to dissect, suture, or manipulate tissue is enhanced.
Robotic-Assisted Surgery can allow surgeons to perform more complex operations with a laparoscopic approach through small incisions. As a result, patients can enjoy less post operative pain, less scarring, and a faster recovery.
Dr. John Abikhaled has helped pioneer the application of Robotic-Assisted general surgery in Austin using the da Vinci Robotic surgery platform.
He has performed a variety of surgeries, including:
- Colon resection for colon cancer and diverticulosis
- Anti-reflux surgery and repair of hiatal hernias
- Heller myotomy for achalasia
- Repair of abdominal and inguinal hernias
- Stomach surgery
- Lymph node biopsy
- Gallbladder surgery
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