Da Vinci Surgery of the Future

There have been countless monumental medical advancements in the past few years, but perhaps the most notable of these-and the one that may end up being the most influential and important-is the advent of da Vinci surgery. This phenomenal new medical technology allows for the most minimally invasive approach by using a robotic machine to perform maneuvers as told to by a doctor who operates the controls. Sound futuristic? Well, in many ways it is, and has been called the future of medical procedure.

A doctor controls the system from a nearby console in the room (though technically this can and has been performed from remote locations) by looking through two eyelid holes onto a 3-D image of the procedure. From there, depending upon what the doctor sees and determines, the doctor can maneuver the robotic system by using two foot pedals and two hand controllers. The robot itself has four arms, three of which are designed to hold various objects and perform clinical maneuvers that would normally be completed with doctors' instruments. The fourth arm is used for the camera that presents the 3-D image of the procedure to the doctor. Once the doctor makes those maneuvers, the robotic system actually synthesizes those motions into significantly more minute and precise micro-movements, which a human is not a capable of making. This allows for a more accurate, efficient, and meticulous procedure that is less invasive and therefore noticeably reduces a patient's pain, swelling, blood loss, scarring, and recovery time. Oftentimes it even results in better clinical results.

As of now, da Vinci surgery is used effectively and regularly in many common procedures. One thing one must be careful not mistake da Vinci surgery for is being completely performed by the robot, when, in fact, without the human doctor operating the console, the machine would be completely incapable of performing any procedure on the patient whatsoever. The most appropriate way of thinking about this unique operation is not to imagine that you are being operated on by a necessarily different agent than you normally would be-the doctor is still in effect performing the clinical procedure-but rather to understand that the medium through which the procedure is being performed has changed-that is, rather than having the inherently imperfect arms of the doctor operate on you, the automated and precise arms of a robot are on you. If considering a clinical procedure in the future, look into the possibility of da Vinci surgery to reduce some of the negative side-effects and get you back to your normal self quick.