Robotic-Assisted Surgery Frequently Asked Questions

Is a surgeon using the da Vinci® Surgical System operating in "virtual reality"?

No. Although seated at a console a few feet away from the patient, the surgeon views an actual image of the surgical field while operating in real-time, through tiny incisions, using electromechanically enhanced instruments.

Is the da Vinci® Surgical System proven technology?

Yes. The da Vinci® System has been used successfully in tens of thousands of procedures worldwide. Currently, the system is being used in the United States, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Australia and Turkey.

During robotic-assisted surgery, can the surgeon feel anything inside the patient's chest or abdomen?

Yes, the system relays force feedback sensations from the operative field back to the surgeon throughout the procedure. Force feedback provides a substitute for tactile sensation.

What is minimally invasive surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery is typically performed through small incisions, or operating ports, rather than the large incisions common in open surgery. As a result, recovery times are shortened and patients experience fewer complications, reduced hospitalization costs and reduced trauma. Minimally invasive surgery has become common for certain surgical procedures, but until now, the development of robotic-assisted technology has not been widely adopted for more complex procedures such as prostatectomy and mitral valve repair.

Will robotic-assisted surgery eliminate the need for an actual surgeon?

No. On the contrary, the da Vinci® System extends the capabilities of the surgeon, allowing them to be more precise in performing complex minimally invasive procedures. The system replicates the surgeon's movements in real time. It cannot be programmed, nor can it make decisions on its own to move in any way or perform any type of surgical maneuver without the surgeon's input.

What are the benefits of using the da Vinci® Surgical System over more traditional methods of surgery?

Some of the major benefits experienced by surgeons have been greater surgical precision, increased range of motion, improved dexterity, enhanced visualization and improved access. Benefits experienced by patients may include a shorter hospital stay, less pain, less risk of infection, less blood loss, fewer transfusions, less scarring, faster recovery and a quicker return to normal daily activities. None of these benefits can be guaranteed, as surgery is both patient- and procedure-specific.

Is this "robotic surgery?"

No. Devices for "robotic surgery" are designed to perform entirely autonomous movements after being programmed by a surgeon."Robotic-assisted surgery" involves a computer-enhanced system that interposes a computer between the surgeon's hands and the tips of micro-instruments. The system replicates the surgeon's movements in real time. It cannot be programmed, nor can it make decisions on its own to move in any way or perform any type of surgical maneuver.

Is the cost of robotic-assisted surgery covered by insurance?

Robotic-assisted surgery is not an investigative surgery and is covered by most insurance plans. Please contact your insurance company for more information.

To find out if robotic-assisted surgery may be right for you, visit Aurora’s Second Opinion Program or call 888-973-2663.