A doctor guides robotic arms to do urologic surgery. This is done through several tiny “keyhole” incisions.
Male Genital and Urinary Systems
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Examples of urologic surgeries that have been successfully done using this technique include:
Compared to more traditional procedures, robotic-assisted surgery may result in:
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a robot-assisted urologic procedure, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.
Depending on the reason for your surgery, your doctor may do the following:
Leading up to the procedure:
General anesthesia will be used. It will block any pain and keep you asleep through the surgery.
Several small keyhole incisions will be made in the abdomen. Carbon dioxide gas will be passed into the area. This will make it easier for the doctor to see the internal structures. The doctor will then pass a small camera, called an endoscope, through one of the incisions. The camera will light, magnify, and project the structures onto a video screen. The camera will be attached to one of the robotic arms. The other arms will hold instruments for grasping, cutting, dissecting, and suturing; for example:
Instrument Used in Procedure
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While sitting at a console near the operating table, the doctor will look through lenses at a magnified 3D image of the inside of the body. Another doctor will stay by the table to adjust the camera and tools. With joystick-like controls and foot pedals, the doctor will do the surgery by guiding the robotic arms and tools. After the tools are removed, the doctor will use sutures or staples to close the surgical area.
About 2-4 hours (depending on the procedure)
You will have pain and discomfort during recovery. Your doctor will give you pain medicine. You may also feel bloated or have pain in your shoulder from the gas used during the procedure. This can last up to three days.
About 1-2 days (depending on the procedure)
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
Total recovery usually takes about 3-6 weeks.
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
American Urological Association
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
Canadian Urological Association
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
Bladder cancer—robot-assisted laparoscopic radical or simple cystectomy. University of Chicago website. Available at: http://www.ucurology.org/homeThumbs/laproscopicB6.htm . Accessed July 8, 2006.
Carmack AJ, Siddiq FM, Leveillee RJ. Novel use of da Vinci Robotic Surgical System: removal of seminal vesicle cyst in previously dissected pelvis. Urology . 2006;67(1):199.
Griffith HW. Complete Guide to Symptoms, Illness & Surgery . New York, NY: Putnam Publishing Group; 2000.
Megaureter. Children’s Hospital Boston website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site1288/mainpageS1288P0.html . Accessed July 8, 2006.
Minimally invasive surgery—laparoscopic surgery. Emory Healthcare website. Available at: http://www.emoryhealthcare.org/departments/urology/sub_menu/laparoscopic.html . Accessed July 8, 2006.
Passerotti CC, Diamond DA, Borer JG, Eisner BH, Barrisford G, Nguyen HT. Robot-assisted laparoscopic ureteroureterostomy: description of technique. J Endourol . 2008;22:581-584.
Robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://urology.jhu.edu/MIS/roboticRRP.php . Accessed July 8, 2006.
Robotic dismembered pyeloplasty. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://cms.clevelandclinic.org/urology/body.cfm?id=221 . Accessed July 8, 2006.
Takacs EB, Kobashi KC. Minimally invasive treatment of stress urinary incontinence and vaginal prolapse. Urologic Clinics of North America . 2008;35(3):467-476.
Last reviewed November 2012 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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