Robotic surgery


Robotic surgery, computer-assisted surgery, and robotically-assisted surgery are terms for technological developments that use robotic systems to aid in surgical procedures. Robotically-assisted surgery was developed to overcome the limitations of minimally-invasive surgery and to enhance the capabilities of surgeons performing open surgery.

In the case of robotically-assisted minimally-invasive surgery, instead of directly moving the instruments, the surgeon uses one of five methods to control the instruments; either a direct telemanipulator or through computer control. A telemanipulator is a remote manipulator that allows the surgeon to perform the normal movements associated with the surgery whilst the robotic arms carry out those movements using end-effectors and manipulators to perform the actual surgery on the patient. In computer-controlled systems the surgeon uses a computer to control the robotic arms and its end-effectors, though these systems can also still use telemanipulators for their input. One advantage of using the computerised method is that the surgeon does not have to be present, but can be anywhere in the world, leading to the possibility for remote surgery.

In the case of enhanced open surgery, autonomous instruments (in familiar configurations) replace traditional steel tools, performing certain actions (such as rib spreading) with much smoother, feedback-controlled motions than could be achieved by a human hand. The main object of such smart instruments is to reduce or eliminate the tissue trauma traditionally associated with open surgery without requiring more than a few minutes' training on the part of surgeons. This approach seeks to improve open surgeries, particularly cardio-thoracic, that have so far not benefited from minimally-invasive techniques.


In 1985 a robot, the PUMA 560, was used to place a needle for a brain biopsy using CT guidance.[1] In 1988, the PROBOT, developed at Imperial College London, was used to perform prostatic surgery by Dr. Senthil Nathan at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital, London. The ROBODOC from Integrated Surgical Systems was introduced in 1992 to mill out precise fittings in the femur for hip replacement. Further development of robotic systems was carried out by Intuitive Surgical with the introduction of the da Vinci Surgical System and Computer Motion with the AESOP and the ZEUS robotic surgical system. (Intuitive Surgical bought Computer Motion in 2003; ZEUS is no longer being actively marketed.)

The da Vinci Surgical System comprises three components: a surgeon’s console, a patient-side robotic cart with 4 arms manipulated by the surgeon (one to control the camera and three to manipulate instruments), and a high-definition 3D vision system. Articulating surgical instruments are mounted on the robotic arms which are introduced into the body through cannulas. The original telesurgery robotic system that the da Vinci was based on was developed at SRI International in Menlo Park with grant support from DARPA and NASA. Although the telesurgical robot was originally intended to facilitate remotely performed surgery in battlefield and other remote environments, it turned out to be more useful for minimally invasive on-site surgery. The patents for the early prototype were sold to Intuitive Surgical in Mountain View, California.

The da Vinci senses the surgeon’s hand movements and translates them electronically into scaled-down micro-movements to manipulate the tiny proprietary instruments. It also detects and filters out any tremors in the surgeon's hand movements, so that they are not duplicated robotically. The camera used in the system provides a true stereoscopic picture transmitted to a surgeon's console. The da Vinci System is FDA cleared for a variety of surgical procedures including surgery for prostate cancer, hysterectomy and mitral valve repair, and is used in more than 800 hospitals in the Americas and Europe. The da Vinci System was used in 48,000 procedures in 2006 and sells for about $1.2 million.[citation needed] The new da Vinci HD SI released in April, 2009 currently sells for $1.75 million. The first robotic surgery took place at The Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio under the direction of Dr. Robert E. Michler, Professor and Chief, Cardiothoracic Surgery.[2]


  1. Kwoh, Y. S., Hou, J., Jonckheere, E. A. and Hayall, S. A robot with improved absolute positioning accuracy for CT guided stereotactic brain surgery. IEEE Trans. Biomed. Engng, February 1988, 35(2), 153–161.
  2. McConnell, PI; Schneeberger, EW; Michler, RE (2003). "History and development of robotic cardiac surgery". Problems in General Surgery 20 (2): 20–30. doi:10.1097/01.sgs.0000081182.03671.6e



Robotic Surgery Demonstration Using Da Vinci Surgical System05:20

Robotic Surgery Demonstration Using Da Vinci Surgical System

Robotic Surgery Demonstration Using Da Vinci Surgical System

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