Robotic-assisted surgery has been used for prostate, gynecological and spinal surgery on adults for years, but many surgeons have been hesitant to use it on children. Now doctors are finding that it’s safe for them, too.
Much of the reason is the da Vinci Si Surgical System, which, because of its precision and enhanced 3-D visualization, can help surgeons “perform procedures in areas that can be otherwise difficult to access, particularly in small children,” according to a story written by Teri Thomas at mdnews.com.
“Robot-assisted surgery is the wave of the future,” said John Meehan, M.D., who was recently recruited to Seattle Children’s Hospital to help create a pediatric robotic center, as explained in the story by Thomas. Meehan’s colleague, Thomas Lendvay, M.D., joined him in his enthusiasm for robotic-assisted surgery, according to the story, and with the new version of the da Vinci model, the two can work side-by-side at a dual console.
Robotic surgical technology lets surgeons perform surgery without physically touching the patient themselves, according to a story at the Web site of Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital, at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, in New Brunswick, N.J. Robotic surgery has also become so popular because it allows doctors to operate through a much smaller incision, usually has less complications (like infections) and patients heal faster, according to a story at Saint Barnabas’ Health Care Systems Website.
This is even more important for children.
According to Thomas’ story, robotic surgery is so successful because it uses instrument tips “that rotate like the human wrist, making complex surgeries easier and more natural for surgeons to perform than traditional 2-D laparoscopy,” she writes.
And robot-assisted surgery has benefits for surgeons, too, which is vital when they’re operating on your child. “One advantage is that you are sitting rather than standing,” Dr. Lendvay is quoted in Thomas’ story. “With the robot, you are seated comfortably at a console. The high magnification vision system is especially helpful in working with our small pediatric patients.”
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Deborah DiSesa Hirsch is an award-winning health and technology writer who has worked for newspapers, magazines and IBM (News - Alert) in her 20-year career. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jennifer Russell