Bowel Cancer Surgery with the da Vinci Robotic System
Robot-assisted surgery is a technological development that uses robotic systems to aid in surgical procedures. Here, instead of directly moving the instruments, the surgeon uses one of two methods to control the instruments: either a remote manipulator or a computer control. Due to robotic use, the surgery is done with the highest precision and much smaller incisions. Thanks to these techniques, there is a quicker healing time and a reduced duration of hospital days, blood loss, need for transfusions, and use of pain medication. The robotic surgery is widely used for surgical procedures on the abdomen, chest, spine, blood vessels etc.
The da Vinci Surgical System is known to be the world's best robotic surgical system, which has been also used in the University Hospital of Leipzig.
A five-person Robotic Abdominal Surgery team has been carrying out complex interventions for the colorectal cancer patients at the Leipzig University Hospital since the last fall with a “da Vinci” robot.
Professor Ines Gockel – the Head of General Surgery Department explains: "The robot helps me, two senior physicians and two assistant doctors, to carry out the operations of the colon and rectal cancer minimally invasively, with particular precision and gentle on the nerves. The advantages of the robot continue to be that the surgeon sees a 3D image, not just a 2D image as in conventional minimally invasive surgery. Another huge benefit is that we can use four arms of the machine, with which instruments can be prepared, held, cut and stitched much more precisely."
As with minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopy), only small incisions are made. The endoscopic micro-instruments and the optics are introduced into the abdomen through these small openings, which size may vary from about 5 to 12 mm. "Of course, the Da Vinci does not operate on my own as many people might think. My hands fully control the operating system, which is capable of compensating for any human motion blur," says Prof. Gockel. "The magnified and high-resolution 3D video image and complete freedom of movement of the instruments, which the human hand would never be able to do so, gives the surgeon more safety during long-lasting operations. Overall, the interaction between man and technology creates an extremely high level of precision that makes it possible to operate even more gently and more efficiently. Nevertheless, this always requires extensive training.
From the minimally invasive high-precision technology of the da Vinci robot, the Leipzig colon cancer surgeons promise an even better protection of the pelvic nerves, which significantly reduces bladder dysfunction, incontinence problems or even sexual dysfunction. Lymph node metastases are also better recognized by 3D optics, according to Prof. Gockel.
Not only the general surgeons headed by Prof. Gockel but also urologists and gynecologists are focusing on the advantages of the innovative surgical technique at the Leipzig University Hospital. Therefore, only one surgical robot system is no longer enough. For this reason, two da Vinci systems are already in use here.
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