How does the da Vinci® system work?
The da Vinci system consists of:

  • a viewing station that provides true-to-life 3-D images that can be magnified up to 14 times
  • four robotic arms that hold the camera and micro-instruments used in surgery
  • EndoWrist® instruments that simulate the surgeon's hands and allow for a superior range of movement

How does the technology assist the surgeon?
The 3D vision system magnifies the surgical field up to 10 times and improves the ability of the surgeon to recognize and control small blood vessels, thereby reducing blood loss. The surgeon is able to perform the minimally invasive procedure with more precision. Robot arms remain steady at all times and robot wrists make it easier for the surgeon to manipulate tissue and work from all angles - positions the surgeon would have difficulty getting to otherwise.

Will robotic-assisted surgery replace the surgeon?
Absolutely not. It will enable the surgeon to be more precise, advancing the technique and enhancing the capability to perform complex minimally invasive surgery. The current generation of surgical robots cannot perform surgical tasks on their own, but they lend a mechanical "helping hand" to the surgeon. The system replicates the surgeon's movements in real time. It cannot be programmed, nor can it make decisions on its own to move in any way or perform any type of surgical maneuver without the surgeon's input.

What benefits does robotic-assisted prostatectomy provide for the patient?
  • Improved cancer control
  • Lower incidences of incontinence and erectile dysfunction
  • Less pain
  • Less risk of wound infection
  • Less blood loss
  • Less scarring
  • Faster recovery
  • Quicker return to normal activities
How does the open prostatectomy compare to laparoscopic radical prostatectomy and robotic-assisted prostatectomy?

  Open Radical Prostatectomy Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy Robotic-Assisted Radical Prostatectomy
Operating time 2.5 to 3.5 hours 3.5 to 6 hours 2 to 3 hours
Average length of hospital stay 2 to 4 days 1.5 to 2.5 days 1.5 to 2.5 days
Total incision length 8 to 10 inches 2 inches 2 inches
Estimated blood loss 375 cc 400 cc less than 100 cc
Return to continence 90% 89% 94%
Visualization 3-D 2-D 3-D
Magnifications of Visualization Up to three times Up to six times 10 times