New Artificial Surgeon Does Laparoscopy

Surgeons in the UT Southwestern Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery are studying the use of the latest technology — a $1.4 million robot named da Vinci that, with a human at the controls, filters out tremor, enhances precision, offers three-dimensional imaging and eliminates the inverted manipulation of instruments usually required in laparoscopic procedures.

"The buzzword is 'more precise than humanly possible.' That's the rationale for this technology," said Dr. Daniel Scott, director of the Southwestern Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery. “It seems advantageous from the standpoint of precision for some procedures."

Da Vinci is most popular in urology for that reason, especially for prostate operations. It's also proved useful in surgeries on the oesophagus and stomach. Researchers also are investigating its practicality for cardiac surgery such as coronary artery bypass grafting and valve replacement.

"It may well prove useful for general surgery procedures that have traditionally required open incisions like biliary reconstruction or pancreatic surgery," Scott said.

Another potential for the technology is for telerobotic surgery across distances — doctors in one city using the robot to perform an operation in another city. The first test of such a surgery was a successful trans-Atlantic gallbladder procedure, with the surgeon in New York and the patient in France. "It certainly could have applications for rural surgery or mentoring surgeons in the community on new procedures," Scott said.; Source: University of Texas Southwestern