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Frequently Asked Questions 

How does the surgeon operate during a da Vinci surgery?

During a da Vinci surgery, your surgeon "directs" the surgery from nearby, but does not stand over you as in a traditional surgery. While each surgery is different, here are the general steps to a da Vinci surgery:

Your surgeon makes tiny (one- to two-centimeter-long) incisions in your body.

The miniature robotic instruments and a powerful camera are inserted into your body.

Your surgeon then sits at a nearby console (a large computer) to direct the procedure. At the console, the area of operation can be seen highly magnified, with excellent resolution.

Sitting at the console, your surgeon manipulates the controls.

The instruments respond to these movements, and translate them into precise, real-time movements inside your body.

The robotic devices, which have greater dexterity and range of motion than a human, allow your surgeon to successfully make precise, delicate motions.

How does the surgeon see what he or she is doing?

A camera inside your body sends real-time images to your surgeon, seated at a console. In fact, the images your surgeon sees using da Vinci are more highly magnified, with a sharper resolution, then what he or she would see standing over you.

How did the da Vinci Surgical System get its name?

For many, "da Vinci" conjures up the famous "Mona Lisa," or perhaps a bestselling novel. However, Leonardo da Vinci is also credited with inventing the very first robot. In addition, he was well known for his intricate, anatomically correct drawings of the human body. Similarly, the da Vinci Surgical System provides surgeons with an intricate, precise view of the human body during the operation.

Does the da Vinci operate by itself?

The da Vinci system cannot "think" on its own. It only responds to your surgeon's precise hand and finger movements. Your surgeon is in the operating room, directing the procedure the entire time.

What conditions can be treated using the da Vinci?

There are many conditions that have been successfully treated using da Vinci surgery. These include:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Endometriosis
  • Gynecologic cancer
  • Heavy uterine bleeding
  • Kidney disorders/kidney cancer
  • Mitral valve prolapse
  • Obesity
  • Prostate cancer
  • Throat cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Uterine prolapse

Can any doctor use the da Vinci?

Without proper training, a doctor cannot simply walk into an operating room and direct a robotic surgery. However, any doctor can be successfully trained in the da Vinci Surgical System. 


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