Minimally invasive surgery techniques were popularized in the mid-1990s for treatment of a variety of abdominal disease processes including surgery for gallbladder, appendix, stomach, colon and gynecologic abnormalities. This revolutionized surgery providing patients with faster recovery and smaller incisions.
Recent advances in robotic surgery have opened new avenues for surgeons and patients in the field of minimally invasive surgery. The da Vinci robotic-assisted surgery platform was approved for use in the U.S. in 2000. It was quickly adopted by urologists for the treatment of prostate cancer and by gynecologists for benign uterine pathology. It is now considered the treatment of choice for many disease processes in both of these specialties. More than 1.5 million robotic cases have been performed worldwide to date. Yet it was not until the past five to six years that general surgeons adopted this technology for use in minimally invasive abdominal surgery.
Robotic surgery provides many tools that make its use in general surgery very advantageous.
Procedures are performed with small incisions similar to traditional laparoscopic surgery. The robotic system is then docked and instruments placed into the operative field.
The surgeon completes the procedure at the surgical console located in the operating room next to the patient. Advantages with robotic surgery include high definition cameras which provide three-dimensional vision and 10x magnification of the surgical field. Wristed instruments allow for more precise movements and greater dexterity in smaller operative spaces.
This technology allows surgeons to complete more advanced cases in a minimally invasive technique. Surgeons are able to operate in areas and on patients who before may have required traditional open surgery. Robotic surgery has shown benefits in the areas of colon and rectal surgery, abdominal wall and inguinal hernia surgery, gallbladder surgery, reflux surgery and stomach surgery. Robotic-assisted surgery provides patients with less pain, less blood loss, shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery.
Robotic surgery technology will continue to push the limits of minimally invasive surgery, providing avenues for hospitals and surgeons to improve and advance patient care.
Dr. Stephen McAdory is a general surgeon with Surgery Associates in Tupelo. He completed his medical training at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in Jackson and his general surgery residency at the Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center in South Carolina.