Robotics Advance Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

Posted on August 30, 2010 | by

Originally FDA approved for abdominal surgery, the da Vinci robotic surgical system by Intuitive Medical was recently approved to also remove oral tumors and has successfully been used to perform reconstructive hand surgery and gastric bypass surgery.

As the uses for this robotic surgical technology expand and the device becomes more readily available, plastic and reconstructive surgeons may soon be able to use the da Vinci robot to perform more and more surgeries more easily and precisely than ever before.

The da Vinci robot eliminates the risk and variability of tremors and movements of the human surgeon’s hand to provide superior surgical outcomes and reduce the pain and blood loss experienced by the patient.

Word of the da Vinci system’s effectiveness is spreading.  A surgeon in Baltimore recently used the da Vinci System to repair the heavily-scarred hand of a 20-year-old patient whose nerves had been cut in half as when the patient accidentally put his hand through glass.

A 15-year-old patient from Jacksonville, NC, also recently underwent a two-hour surgery to remove a noncancerous tumor from the base of her tongue with the da Vinci robot.

Without the da Vinci, the scarring, pain and recovery time from the tumor surgery would have been significant, as the incision would have run from the patient’s chin to her neck, and her jawbone would have had to been cut with conventional surgery.  Instead, the da Vinci robot enabled surgeons to remove the tumor through small, hidden incisions in the patient’s mouth.

The da Vinci System is composed of two robotic arms to perform necessary surgical techniques, a console with operational hand controls and a viewfinder for the surgeon and a video camera that transmits a picture to an HD video screen on the surgeon’s console.

While the video and robotic components of the da Vinci system certainly don’t replace the need for a skilled surgeon, this new technology offers significant benefits to both surgeons and patients and may have exciting implications for the future of plastic and reconstructive surgery.