Technological progress has helped modern surgery to give a solution to important intra-abdominal problems with minimal surgical trauma.
Avoidance of large incisions of open surgery not only reduces postoperative pain and accelerates recovery, but also eliminates the chances of serious postoperative complications including wound infection, postoperative hernias, and the need for reoperation. And of course, always seeking for the improved cosmetic result without postsurgical scars.
This withstanding, a patient from abroad can visit Greece, get operated and then spend a spectacular vacation in Greece. Another advantage of Greece, is that the patient can pick which doctor will perform the operation, doctors are very well trained and there is cutting edge technology equipment available for each of these operations.
One of the greatest achievements in medical technology of the 20th century was the development of minimally invasive surgery. Laparoscopic surgery is proven safe, effective, technically feasible and well tolerated by patients, either adults or teens, children, even infants. The main advantages relate to a shorter hospital stay, less pain, rapid return to daily routines and better cosmetic result compared to the open (classic) techniques. For the patient, this means less stress and hassle and quicker return at home, at work or in normal life.
Despite its advantages, conventional laparoscopy is limited by the high degree of difficulty, the limited space for maneuvering, the two-dimensional image, the mirror image movements, and biotechnological parameters such as the surgeon’s hand tremor which is propagated through the long, rigid instruments, especially when they have to be kept stable for a long time.
Robotic surgery is the development of minimally invasive surgery in which the operation is performed through small skin incisions. It is the spearhead of endoscopy and aims to bridge the gap between laparoscopy and open surgery.
The term “telesurgery” provides technical features such as three-dimensional vision, great mobility of robotic tools and filtering of physiological tremor of the hands of the surgeon. These factors provide the surgeon an ergonomic environment for performing complex laparoscopic maneuvers.
The first robotic surgical system got approval in the U.S. FDA in 1997 and since then, developments run quickly. Robotic surgery is spreading to more and more areas. In Greece it started in 2006.
What does a robotic system look like ?
Today, the most modern robotic surgical system, the Da Vinci SI High Definition, is available in our country.
This system which is more advanced than its predecessors, comprises a console, where the surgeon sits in an anatomic position and sees inside the body through binoculars, through which he handlesthe robotic instruments with the specially designed joysticks (masters) and pedals, a robotic tower, which comprises the hardware and the screen for the assistant surgeons and the arms of the daVinci, where the surgical tools are inserted. The camera and instruments enter the patient's body through incisions of minimum size (7.5mm for the instruments and 10mm for the camera). The da Vinci system has four arms and the surgeon may equally control simultaneously three robotic instruments and the camera. The instruments are specially designed. The robotic perform equal and even more movements than the human hand.
Does the operation take place from the robot?
The da Vinci system does not replace the surgeon because it cannot operate on its own. However, it employs advanced technology with which the surgeon acquires enhanced ability for performing minimally invasive surgery. The operation is performed exclusively by the surgeon, whosehand movements are transferred electronically to the robotic arms with absolute accuracy, stability and refinement, in real time.
The robotic system imitates the movements of the surgeon in the masters, with movements of the robotic arms on a smaller scale. Furthermore, the system electronics can absorb physiological tremor of the hands of the surgeon, with stable sophisticated movements of the robotic instruments. The da Vinci is designed so that the surgeon has full control on all four arms like his own hands.
What are the advantages of Robotic Surgery?
More precise movements, extended range of motion for the instruments, greater mobility, improved high definition real 3D image, the possibility of intervention in small and inaccessible areas. Patients benefit from shorter hospital stay, less pain, less blood loss, less risk of infection, better cosmetic results, faster recovery, and faster return to daily activities.
What specialties of surgery use robotics?
The robotic surgical system has been used by surgeons of various medical specialties. Most references have been made by general surgeons, pediatric surgeon, heart surgeons, urologists, gynecologic surgeons, endocrinologists and oncologists. One of the major advantages of robotic tools that can be used in many types of surgeries in different areas of the human body. The system can be transferred from one operating room to another, is compatible with modern operating theatres and it is perfectly safe for performing heart surgery.
Which patient is suitable for robotic surgery?
Not all patients are suitable to undergo robotic surgery, therefore good patient selection and preoperative workup is required to determine the appropriate surgical technique.