September 23, 2021

How Does Robotic Surgery Work?

Surgeon wearing protective equipment uses a robotic surgery device in an operating room

In robotic surgery, advanced technology is used to give a surgeon an enhanced view of the area being operated on. The robotic surgery system then precisely mirrors the movements of the surgeon’s hand as they conduct the minimally invasive surgery from a special surgery console. 

If your doctor has recommended robotic surgery for you or a loved one, you probably have questions about it. Answers to some of the most common questions about robotic surgery are below. 

How Is Robotic Surgery Performed?

In a robotic surgery procedure, the surgeon sits at a control station near where the patient is on an operating table. A small cut is made in the skin into which a thin tube with a powerful camera on the end is inserted. This device, called an endoscope, enables the surgeon to see enlarged, 3-D images of the inside of the body. 

As the surgeon’s hand moves, the technology matches those movements exactly and in real-time. Tiny instruments held by the robotic arm perform the actions necessary to achieve the desired result.

What Are the Risks of Robotic Surgery?

Whether traditional “open surgery” or robotic surgery, there are risks associated with every surgical procedure. They include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Postoperative pain
  • Reactions to anesthesia or other medicines
  • Breathing difficulties

However, some of the risks are, in fact, decreased with minimally invasive robotic surgery. For example, because only a small incision is made and there’s less disturbance to tissues, the risk of bleeding and infection can be lower with robotic surgery, as can the amount of postoperative pain. 

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Can All Surgeons Perform Robotic Surgery?

Although robotic surgery mimics the surgeon’s movements, special training is required for a surgeon to understand and operate the robotic surgery system. So, while any surgeon can learn to perform robotic surgery, not all surgeons are trained and qualified to use the technology. 

Do All Hospitals Offer Robotic Surgery?

The use of robotic surgery is increasing. However, not all hospitals offer it. 

If you require surgery, your Baptist Health doctor can talk with you about whether robotic surgery or open surgery is right for you. We use robotic surgery technology from da Vinci Systems for general surgery and Globus Medical neurosurgery. If robotic surgery is the better option, your doctor will tell you where the procedure can be performed. 

Learn More About Baptist Health Surgical Services and Find a Provider

You can get details on Baptist Health Floyd’s surgical services online or from your Baptist Health provider. Open surgery or robotic surgery, inpatient or outpatient — you’ll get outstanding care from our skilled surgeons, nurses, and other medical professionals.

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