Robotic Surgery

Robotic Surgery

Using robots in the operating room to assist the surgeon in performing surgery. The surgeon views the patient via a terminal and manipulates robotic surgical instruments via a control panel. Views of the organs being worked on are transmitted from tiny cameras inserted into the body.

Such robots are considerably less invasive than normal operating room procedures because the instruments can be inserted into much smaller incisions in the human body. This type of "laparoscopic" surgery means less pain and less scarring, and patients recover much faster.

Since the patient and surgeon are separated by an electronic console, it also enables "telesurgery," which allows the surgeon to perform the operation in a remote location.

What is a robotic surgery?

Robotic surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery. "Minimally invasive" means that instead of operating on patients through large incisions, we use miniaturized surgical instruments that fit through a series of quarter-inch incisions. 


Robotic surgery, or robot-assisted surgery, allows surgeons to perform many types of complex procedures with more precision, flexibility and control than is possible with conventional techniques. Robotic surgery is usually associated with minimally invasive surgery - procedures performed through tiny incisions. It is also sometimes used in certain traditional open surgical procedures.

Types of Surgery

When lifestyle changes, medicine and other treatments do not ease your symptoms, your Urologist may suggest surgery. Surgery can include:

  • Open surgery (through one large incision)
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery (Laparoscopic / Robotic-assisted da Vinci Surgery) - done through a few small incisions

Understanding Robotic Surgery

  • What is minimally invasive surgery?

Minimally invasive are just two fancy words that mean smaller incisions. These types of surgeries mean shorter hospitalization and faster recovery for patients. Other benefits may be:

  • Less blood
  • Less scarring
  • Reduced risk of infection
  • Faster return to your life

How does the Robotic Surgical System work?

To operate using the Robotic system, the surgeon makes tiny incisions in your body and inserts miniaturized instruments and a high-definition three-dimensional camera, and sometimes skin incisions are not required at all. Then, from a nearby console, the surgeon manipulates those instruments to perform the operation.

Think of the Robotic system, system like a video game. When you play a video game, you move a control button, and the machine translates your movements into real-time, mimicking your moves precisely on the screen. During a Robotic-assisted procedure, the surgeon uses master controls to manipulate the instruments, and the instruments translate surgeon's movements into precise movements inside your body. The surgeon is in control the whole time; the surgical system responds to the direction he provides.

Is a robot operating on me?

We also know many patients are concerned about the idea of a robot performing surgery. You should know that the Robotic Surgical System is really a system that allows the surgeon to make precise, delicate motions while controlling the machine. The robot is never, ever making decisions or performing incisions. Rather, the surgeon is telling the robot what to do, and the robot allows for greater precision than the human hand on its own.

The Robotic system cannot "think" on its own. It only responds to the surgeon's precise hand and finger movements. The surgeon is in the operating room, doing the procedure the entire time.

Robotic Surgery: What to Expect

During a Robotic-assisted surgery, the surgeon "directs & does" the surgery from nearby, but does not stand over the like during a traditional surgery. While each surgery is different, here are the general steps to a Robotic-assisted surgery:

  • 1. The surgeon makes tiny (one to two centimeter-long) incisions in your body.
  • 2. The surgeon inserts a miniature robotic instruments and a powerful camera into your body.
  • 3. The surgeon then sits at a nearby console (a large computer) to direct the procedure. At the console, the area of operation can be seen highly magnified, with excellent resolution.
  • 4. Sitting at the console, the surgeon manipulates the controls.
  • 5. The instruments respond to these movements, and translate them into precise, real-time movements inside your body.
  • 6. The robotic devices, which have greater dexterity and range of motion than a human, allow the surgeon to successfully perform delicate surgeries in hard-to-reach places.

What are the benefits of Robotic assisted surgery?

There are many benefits to having a Robotic-assisted surgery. A Robotic-assisted surgery benefits you directly-shorter recovery time-as well as indirectly-the surgeon has better visualization, leading to a more precise surgery. Other benefits:

  • The surgeon has greater range of motion and dexterity
  • The surgeon sees a highly-magnified, high-resolution image of the operating field
  • The surgeon has better access to the area being operated on
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Less risk of infection
  • Less blood loss and fewer blood transfusions
  • Less pain
  • Faster recovery
  • Quicker return to daily routine
  • What conditions can be treated with robotic surgery?

Dr. Dilip Raja uses the da Vinci robot to treat the following urologic conditions:


  • Prostate cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Adrenal cancer

Urologic Conditions

  • Female incontinence
  • Ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction
  • Vesicoureteral reflux
  • Ureteral stricture (obstruction)

Concerns about Robotic Surgery

Can any doctor perform robotic surgery?

Without proper training, any doctor cannot simply walk into an operating room and direct a robotic surgery. One needs specialised training with Robotic surgical system.

How Does the Robotic Surgeon See What He or She is Doing?

There is a camera inside your body, which sends real-time images to the surgeon, seated at the console. In fact, the images the surgeon sees using the Robotic System are more highly magnified, with a sharper resolution, then what he or she would see standing over you.


How many days will I miss from work?

Every patient is different and you should discuss your recovery with the Urologist. In general, patients may stay in the hospital one to two nights and then return home. Most patients find they have recovered fully within two to four weeks of surgery.

Pain management options: After robotic surgery

We take pain management after surgery very seriously. Our teams research effective pain management techniques for use after surgery, including robotic surgery. They will work with you to make sure your pain is managed well before, during and after the surgery. As we know people's pain can continue when they return home, we will also help develop a pain treatment plan for you for when you leave the hospital.


Surgeons who use the robotic system find that for many procedures it enhances precision, flexibility and control during the operation and allows them to better see the site, compared with traditional techniques. Using robotic surgery, surgeons can perform delicate and complex procedures that may have been difficult or impossible with other methods.

Often, robotic surgery makes minimally invasive surgery possible. The benefits of minimally invasive surgery include:

  • Fewer complications, such as surgical site infection
  • Less pain and blood loss
  • Quicker recovery
  • Smaller, less noticeable scars

Dilip Raja