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The da Vinci Surgical System

English: A photo of a robotic surgery facility...

Until 1999, surgical robotics was little more than a medical curiosity. However, 1999 was the year that Intuitive Surgical Inc. introduced the da Vinci Surgical System.

Intuitive Surgical Inc. is a corporation that was founded in 1995 by Dr. Frederic Moll. Dr. Moll is a distinguished and prolific medical device entrepreneur who has over 20 years of medical device and high technology experience.

Intuitive Surgical Inc. manufactures robotic surgical systems. The most notable is the da Vinci Surgical System. The da Vinci Surgical System allows surgery to be performed remotely by using robotic manipulators. It is designed to facilitate complex surgery by using a minimally invasive approach. Minimally invasive refers to any surgical procedure that is less invasive than open surgery for the same purpose.

Approved in 2000


The da Vinci Surgical System was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000 for adult and pediatric use in urologic surgical procedures, general laparoscopic surgical procedures, gynecologic laparoscopic surgical procedures, general non-cardiovascular thoracoscopic surgical procedures and thoracoscopically assisted cardiotomy procedures. The FDA also approved the da Vinci Surgical System for use with adjunctive mediastinotomy (creating small opening to view middle area of your chest) to perform coronary anastomosis (connection of two structures) during cardiac revascularization (restoration of blood flow).

The da Vinci Surgical System is controlled by a surgeon from a console that is typically in the same room as the patient who is having surgery. There is a patient-side cart that has four interactive robotic arms that are controlled from the console by the surgeon.

Robotic arms


Three of the robotic arms are for tools that hold objects. They can also act as scalpels, scissors, bovies (medical device that cuts and seals by way of direct electrical current), or bipolar or unipolar electrocautery (burning with low voltage electrified probe) instruments.

The fourth robotic arm carries an endoscopic (internal viewing) camera with two lenses that provide the surgeon with full stereoscopic vision from the console. Stereoscopic vision enables the surgeon to see with height, width and depth.

The surgeon sits at the console and looks through two eye holes at a 3D image of the procedure, while maneuvering the arms with two foot pedals and two hand controllers. The da Vinci Surgical System scales, filters and translates the hand movements of the surgeon into precise micro-movements of the instruments, which operate through small incisions in the body of the patient.

Various procedures


The da Vinci Surgical System is commonly used for prostatectomies (removal of part or all of the prostate gland). It is also being increasingly used for cardiac valve repair and gynecologic (female reproductive system) surgical procedures.

Critics of the da Vinci Surgical System contend that it is difficult for users to learn and it has not been shown to be more effective than traditional laparoscopic surgery. The da Vinci Surgical System uses proprietary software that cannot be modified by doctors, which limit’s the freedom to modify the operation system. In addition, the $2 million cost of the system places it beyond the reach of many institutions and operating room injuries have occurred.

If you have suffered operating room injuries from a da Vinci Surgical System robot, the smart thing to do is to contact a personal injury attorney and have your case evaluated at no cost or obligation.
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