Da Vinci Robotic surgery more common, improves the performance of surgeons

The da Vinci robot has long conquered its market, costing more than $2 million just to
purchase. Adding the yearly maintenance, training of staff and disposable parts, the cost
increases. However, robotic surgery is getting more common and has a positive affect on both
surgeons and patients.

“It’s a huge difference for us performing the surgeries,” said Dr. Ulrika Johannesson, chief
physician at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Danderyd hospital, Stockholm,
Sweden. “The disadvantage…is the cost. It’s a very expensive system.”

The American company Intuitive Surgical Corp. has ran a monopoly in its market since it
launched the da Vinci robot in year 2000, but new producers are soon to enter, Dr.
Johannesson said.

“And then, like at all markets, the prices will probably decrease.”

The robot is controlled by the surgeon, sitting in front of a console and screen. Sitting down by
a console is more friendly to neck and shoulders than standing and bending over a patient for

“You need to have in mind the surgeon’s point of view, that one needs to operate for many
years to come, and that it’s better to last than to wear oneself out.”

The robot-assisted surgery system can be used by a surgeon in one country performing
surgery at a patient in another country.

Dr. Johannesson works primarily with intuitive and robot-assisted surgery. She is also head of
the team working with robotics at her department.

She said her department uses the robot one day per week. Other departments use it too. The
robot is most commonly used for urological surgeries, for example removal of the prostate, and
gynecologic surgeries, for example removal of the uterus.

“We control the robot. Without [surgeons], there will not be a surgery,” Dr. Johannesson said.
“Some patients believe we just press a button, and the robot performs the surgery. That’s not
how it works.”

According to an article in the Swedish publication Dagens Medicin from 2016, their count
showed 27 robots in Sweden compared to eight in 2012.To make the most out of the remote
robot, it should be used at least 200 times per year.

Instruments at the end of the robot’s four arms, the parts that enter the patient, can turn 360
degrees. The camera accompanying them gives a three-dimensional picture of the abdominal
cavity. The biggest advantage with the da Vinci robot is that it got wrist movements, making
the stitching easier.

“That’s the hard part of invasive surgery,” said Dr. Johannesson. “All forms of trembling etc. is
removed by the use of the robot.


Amount of surgeries performed by the da Vinci robot per hospital in 2015.


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