Keeping Patients Informed

Frequently Asked Questions on Robotic Surgery

At Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital New Brunswick we are committed to keeping our patients informed so they can make educated decisions. Below are some frequently asked questions pertaining to robotic surgery.

What is robotic surgery?

Robotic surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery using a computer-assisted surgical system. Instead of operating on patients using traditional instruments through large incisions, surgeons use miniature surgical instruments guided by robotic arms. These robotic instruments are the size of a dime and inserted into a patient’s body through a series of small incisions. The surgical robot is controlled by a highly-trained surgeon using an advanced computer console.

Why is robotic surgery used?

Surgeons use computer-assisted surgical systems to perform delicate and complex procedures that may have been difficult or impossible with traditional surgical techniques. Robotic technology enhances surgical precision, hand and wrist flexibility and instrument control. It can be used in a wide range of surgical procedures.

How does it work?

A very small 3D camera and dime-sized surgical instruments are placed inside the patient through tiny incisions. The surgeon controls the surgical instruments using mechanical arms while viewing a high-definition, magnified, three-dimensional view of the surgical site on a computer console. Using hand and foot controls, the operating surgeon moves the robotic instruments mimicking the movements of hands.

What are the benefits of robotic surgery?

Robotic surgery gives your surgeon a greater range of motion, dexterity and surgical precision. It also allows them to see them a magnified 3D view of the surgical area and better access to the surgical site. Some other benefits of robotic surgery include:

  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Fewer blood transfusions because of less blood loss
  • Risk of infection minimized
  • Less pain at the incision site
  • Faster recovery

Are there risks with robotic surgery?

Robotic surgery shares the same risks as other open and laparoscopic surgeries, including the potential for infection, bleeding and risks associated with anesthesia. Be sure to discuss the risks with your surgeon as they relate to your specific condition.

Is robotic surgery right for you?

Robotic surgery is not an option for everyone. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks compared to other types of surgeries.