The da Vinci system’s primary components are a console, a patient side cart with operating tools and a 3D HD monitor. Like any other major surgeries, patients are under anesthesia during the procedure. Because the robot takes longer to set up compared to the ramp-up time for a traditional surgery, the overall operating time is typically longer also.
- Patient-side Cart
- 3D HD Vision System
- Operations Performed with Robots
The surgeon sits in front of the console while looking into a monitor that shows a 3D image of the inside of the patient’s body. From the console, the doctor operates the controls that move the robotic arms of the machine.
|Common da Vinci Surgery Complications|
|Temporary pain/nerve injury|
|Longer operation time|
|Conversion to another surgical technique|
|Additional time under anesthesia|
|Additional or larger incisions|
|Reactions to medications|
Even though robot-assisted surgery is considered by some to be the wave of the future, the technology is not without problems. In some cases, complications from robotic surgeries gone wrong even lead to death.
Some dangerous complications include:
- Injury to organs
- Internal scarring
- Equipment failure
Some patients – and families of patients – who suffered severe and sometimes fatal injuries are suing Intuitive, claiming the robot is faulty and should not be on the market. One man who went in for a routine prostatectomy ended up in the operating room for more than 13 hours instead of the five he was quoted. He was left incontinent with a colostomy bag and with kidney and lung damage. He also had sepsis and suffered a stroke before passing away.
Another woman underwent surgery with the da Vinci robot for endometriosis. She remained in the operating room for nearly 11 hours. A few days later, she was rushed to the emergency room, where doctors discovered her rectum and colon had been torn during robotic surgery.
|Some facts about da Vinci injuries:|
|56.8 percent of surgeons said they experienced malfunctions with the da Vinci|
|Women are more likely to be injured|
|One third of the deaths reported to the FDA occurred during gynecologic procedures|
|43 percent occurred during hysterectomies|
The extra cost of equipment and surgeon training gets passed on to the patient. For example, researchers from Columbia University found that robotic surgery for removing ovarian cysts cost about $3,300 more than traditional laparoscopic surgery.
The Columbia study, published in October 2014 in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, revealed that robotic surgery actually costs more and has more complications than regular minimally invasive surgery for removing ovaries and ovarian cysts.
Intuitive Surgical made billions from its robot, and despite the lack of clinical proof that it is superior to traditional surgery it continues to aggressively market the machine, and the technology’s popularity continues to grow. Between 2007 and 2011, the use of robotic surgery increased more than 400 percent.