Understanding How Robot-Assisted Surgery Works

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Understanding How Robot-Assisted Surgery Works

A robot performing a complex surgical procedure may seem like far-off science fiction. Still, the truth is that robots assist surgeons daily to make procedures faster, safer, and more effective. 

At Advanced Surgical Associates of Northern Minnesota, board-certified general surgeon Dr. John Bollins and his team use robotic surgery to help perform most general surgery procedures. But it’s not like you’re putting your life in the hands of some maniacal metal monster; in every case, the surgeon calls the shots, and the system merely assists. Here’s how the process works.

The development of robot-assisted surgery

Surgery started with “open” procedures, those that employed large incisions to access the body part(s) to be treated. Such procedures were effective, but they carried serious risks like blood loss and infection, and you needed a great deal of downtime to recover.

Then came minimally invasive surgery. Surgeons could now perform the same procedures as open surgery but through smaller incisions into which a miniature camera and tools were placed. These procedures lessened the risk of bleeding and infection and came with a shorter recovery time. 

Robotic surgery (robot-assisted surgery) is an advanced form of minimally invasive surgery. Surgical robots are computer-controlled devices designed to assist with the positioning and manipulation of the instruments, allowing surgeons to increase their accuracy, flexibility, and control over the entire process.

The advantages of robot-assisted surgery

Minimally invasive procedures use incisions as small as a buttonhole. Think about how bulky the human hand is in those holes and how difficult it must be to navigate inside them. Robot-assisted surgery depends on microtechnology to maneuver within small spaces easily and precisely while maintaining high skill. The system is completely controlled by the surgeon, only with the added values of smoother movement and less tissue trauma.

At Advanced Surgical Associates of Northern Minnesota, we rely on the state-of-the-art da Vinci® robotic system. Dr. Bollins controls the robotic arms, which hold and maneuver the instruments. The following technologies within the da Vinci platform enhance Dr. Bollins’ skills and produce precise results:

Sensitive finger controls

Dr. Bollins uses highly sensitive finger controls to manipulate the robotic arms. The “hands” are smaller than human hands and can easily access tight spaces inside your body.

Extensive movement

The robotic arms have human-like wrists, but they’re connected to a technology that allows for fine movement and a range of motion superior to human hands. The robotic program also filters out the natural hand tremors during surgery.

Superior visualization

Da Vinci’s 3DHD visualization gives Dr. Bollins an exceptional view of your body, allowing him to adjust his technique precisely. The system transmits 3D images with up to 10X magnification of other systems and further boosts visualization by highlighting specific structures within the treatment area.

Advanced Surgical Associates of Northern Minnesota can perform nearly every general surgery procedure using robot-assistive technology.

No matter what type of general surgery you need, Advanced Surgical Associates of Northern Minnesota takes a (human-robot) hands-on approach, ensuring excellent care and a healthy recovery. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, call us at our Hibbing, Duluth, or Ely, Minnesota, office or book online.