What is robotic surgery?

Robot Surgery

Dr. Matt Hewitt

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

Contact Dr Hewitt

Outline of robot surgery

Robot surgery is a form of keyhole surgery.

What is keyhole surgery?

  • Keyhole surgery is surgery performed through small incisions in the abdominal wall
  • Keyhole surgery is normally performed with ‘straight sticks’ which the surgeon holds with his/her hands
  • Surgery performed through small incisions is associated with
    • Less pain postoperatively
    • A quicker recovery
    • A shorter hospital stay
    • Smaller scars which are more aesthetically pleasing to the patient
    • Reduced infections
    • Reduced blood loss
    • Reduced scarring
  • The disadvantages of conventional ‘straight stick’ keyhole surgery are
    • The surgeon sees the surgical field in 2 dimensions on a screen
    • The surgeon is heavily reliant on a skilled assistant to hold the camera and other surgical instruments
    • There is a limited range of movements of the surgical instruments
    • Fine dissection of tissue is difficult due to natural tremor and decreased magnification
    • A fulcrum effect of the instruments passing through the abdominal wall requires good hand eye coordination

What is robotic surgery?

  • Robotic surgery is a form of keyhole surgery but rather than the surgeon holding the instruments a robot holds the instruments which are controlled indirectly by a surgeon sitting at a console
  • The disadvantages of conventional straight stick surgery are overcome using the robot
  • The advantages of robotic surgery are shown on a different page