As more and more hospitals add hybrid operating rooms to their facilities, the sight of robotically-assisted surgical procedures is becoming much more common. At Pinnacle Health we are constantly looking for new ways to provide better treatment, cut down recuperation time, and increase room availability. A lot of professionals were surprised and impressed at how well robotic solutions, like the da Vinci Surgical System, are able to do that.
Previously, patients would be moved to a cardiac catheterization lab to get their hearts imaged and then transferred back to an operating room. After that they may have to be transferred to yet another facility where there was an open recovery room (all of which contributed to a very lengthy hospital stay). Transferring from place to place like this just increases the time it takes to do the procedures and to recuperate from the trauma to the body.
Hybrid ORs, on the other hand, combine cutting edge imaging technology with all the functions of a standard OR. This means that doctors can perform many of the same operations with a minimally invasive procedure – which leads to a faster recovery, as well as less pain, trauma, and risk of infection.
Building a Better Procedure
The da Vinci Surgical System was developed for use in these hybrid ORs. This precise machine allows doctors to perform delicate and complex operations with minimal invasiveness. The machine itself employs four robotic arms – one for the imaging camera while the others manipulate the surgical tools. The da Vinci system sits over the top of the patient, while the doctors actually sit at a console where they can view the images in high definition 3D.
At the console, doctors use hand controllers that translates the movements of the hand, fingers, and wrists into precise real-time movements of surgical tools with zero hand tremor. Doctors are using these surgical robots to perform the types of surgeries that would have normally required cutting or breaking bones just to get at the right part of the heart. Now, because of the vision and control that these machines provide, these procedures are being completed more effectively with less blood loss and faster recovery times.
Putting the Robots to Work
To be clear, robotic surgical systems do not do anything on their own. They do not have any kind of autonomous thinking software that would allow the machines to act without a doctor at the controls. Even so, just watching these four robotic arms at work on a patient is an impressive sight – it really does put you in mind of a science fiction movie for more reasons that one. Not only does the technology look impressive, but a patient recovering in one to two weeks instead of eight to ten also seems like a giant advance.
So far, the da Vinci Surgical System has been used in cardiothoracic surgery, general surgery, urology, gynecology, head and neck surgery, and more. New doctors that are specifically asking hospitals if they have hybrid operating rooms and how they are implementing robotics in their procedures. This is something a lot of doctors are looking forward to using.