The da Vinci™ surgical system at Virginia Mason Medical Center (Seattle, WA, USA)

Background Information:

"What is da Vinci™?
Da Vinci™ is a computer-assisted robotic system that expands a surgeon's capability to operate within the human body in a less invasive way. The da Vinci™ Surgical System is the only technology of its kind with FDA approval in the United States. Virginia Mason Medical Center is the first and only hospital in Washington state to perform robotically-assisted surgery using the da Vinci™ Surgical System.

Why is da Vinci™ an important landmark in surgical history?

The da Vinci™ system is at the leading edge of a new frontier in surgery. These operations are performed with no direct mechanical connection between the surgeon and the patient. Da Vinci™ allows greater precision and better visualization, while using smaller incisions and producing less surgical trauma.

How is da Vinci™ used by surgeons?
Small incisions (approximately one inch) are made, through which an optical system and robotic arms with highly-specialized instruments are introduced. These are connected to a computer- driven mechanism that is controlled by a surgeon sitting at a console near the patient. The optical system provides high resolution, high magnification and depth perception.

How does the surgeon actually perform the operation?
While viewing the surgical field through the da Vinci™ System's high-resolution, three-dimensional image display, the surgeon manipulates and guides da Vinci's™ computer- assisted robotic arms and instruments. While the surgeon's hands and fingers direct the surgery, the movements are translated by the computer to precise movement of the microsurgical instruments inside the patient's body.

What procedures will be performed with the da Vinci™ System?
Now, more than 60 different types of operations have been performed with the da Vinci™ system. At Virginia Mason, the da Vinci™ system is now in use for urological, abdominal, general thoracic and cardiac surgery. These include preparation of internal mammary arteries for coronary bypass surgery, operations on the stomach to stop severe heartburn, and removal of the prostate gland because of cancer.

What are the benefits to Virginia Mason patients?
The da Vinci™ System allows minimally-invasive surgery to be performed with greater precision and improved functional and cosmetic results. It is expected to reduce length of stay in the hospital, complications and postoperative pain.

What are the benefits to Virginia Mason?
Da Vinci™ is another important step forward in Virginia Mason's continuing commitment to provide the highest quality medical care and the best patient outcomes with its 'Team Medicine' approach. Such cutting-edge technology expands the knowledge and experience base of our entire medical team. Because we have so many medical specialties involved at Virginia Mason, we are able to apply the system in a multitude of ways, enabling us to offer the best care possible to our patients. Da Vinci™ opens the door to new treatments and procedures. We hope it will reduce cost by reducing hospital length of stay and postoperative complications."

Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA, USA.

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