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FAQs about Robotic Surgery

  • What is robotic surgery?

    Robotic surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery that involves the use of very small tools attached to a robotic arm, which is controlled by the surgeon through a console. This essentially means the movements of the surgeon's hands is shrunk to two 7mm instruments, allowing the surgeon to accurately and dexterously operate in small spaces in the body.

  • The da Vinci® Surgical System offers benefits to both patients and doctors. Surgeons using the system have reported benefits like greater surgical precision, increased range of motion, improved dexterity, enhanced visualisation and improved access.

    Benefits experienced by patients include:

    • a shorter hospital stay,
    • less pain,
    • reduced risk of infection,
    • less blood loss,
    • fewer transfusions,
    • minimal scarring,
    • faster recovery
    • and a quicker return to normal daily activities.

    However, none of these benefits can be guaranteed, as surgery is both specific to each patient and procedure.

  • The enhanced 3D view with magnification allows the surgeon to see the blood vessels better and provides a more detailed view than is possible with open surgery. This superior visualisation, along with accurate movements of the surgeon-controlled robotic arms, improves the ability to expose and control blood vessels adjacent to the surgical field. Blood loss is also reduced because the pressure generated by the gas used to inflate the abdomen during surgery compresses small blood vessels, which provides surgeons with a better and more expansive view of the operating area.

  • Since the surgery is done through a small cut, most patients experience much less post-operative pain compared to open surgery. This means less pain medication is needed. In general, most patients feel little or no pain after one week. There is also a decreased risk of post-operative hernias.

  • Light walking is encouraged right after the procedure. After two weeks, jogging and aerobic exercise is allowed. After a month, heavy lifting can be begun.

  • Patients cannot opt for robotic surgery themselves. Robotic surgery is offered to a patient as an alternative to conventional surgery only when he has met all necessary criteria. If a patient requests for robotic surgery, a specialist will need to review the patient and his reports to ensure that the patient is suitable for robotic surgery. Robotic surgery is an option that a patient can elect ONLY IF all the concerned doctors agree that it is a better option.

  • Not all patients are suitable for robotic surgery. Severe medical problems and/or advanced age may mean that the patient cannot tolerate the special positioning and length of the procedure. Severe obesity is a common limitation, although robotic surgery can sometimes be successful when standard laparoscopy is not feasible. Severe intra-abdominal adhesions due to previous surgery may also prevent a minimally invasive approach. Our experienced surgeons will discuss your treatment options and help you decide the best course of action.

  • Surgery is not an option after radiation treatment. This is because radiation depletes the body and weakens its immune response. However, the reverse is possible. If you choose surgery, and your doctor determines after the operation that the cancer has returned, you may, at that point, choose radiation.

  • Currently, the da Vinci® surgical system is being used in hundreds of locations worldwide, in major centres in the US, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, Australia and Turkey.

  • This would be an extremely rare occurrence. The machine is built to very strict quality standards, and is constantly maintained through a very demanding set of mandated inspections. It is also inspected before every surgery to very strict and mandated criteria of checks. Nevertheless, the surgeon and the operation theatre team are always prepared to (and able to) convert the surgery to a laparoscopic surgery or an open surgery.

  • While the cost of robotic surgery will be slightly more than a laparoscopic surgery, this cost is offset by the reduced cost of a shorter hospital stay, and an early return to work. There are also intangible 'savings' of minimal or no blood transfusion, the advantage of less pain with superior results and better cosmetic results.

  • While the majority of insurance companies will pay for this surgery as they would the traditional open or laparoscopic prostatectomy, there are exceptions. As such, we advise that you consult your insurance agent to confirm your coverage before the surgery.