Design of the da Vinci robot
The da Vinci Surgical System is comprised of two components, a surgeon’s console and a patient-side cart.
The console is the workplace of the surgeon performing the procedure. It comprises an optical system by means of which the surgeon is able to see an magnified, three-dimensional view of the operative field at an unprecedented level, with natural estimation of the depth of immersion of surgical instruments and the option to further magnify the view until the particular tissues and their layers can be identified. Such an excellent visualisation enables surgeons to handle the delicate tissues and make very precise incisions even in hard-to-reach spaces. This translates directly into the safety of the patient and the success of the operation.
The patient-side component consists of four controllable robotic arms that are in immediate contact with the patient being operated on and replace the surgeon’s hands on the operating table. The robot’s arms are controlled by the doctor by means of special control sticks. This means that the system translates the movements of the surgeon’s hand, wrist and thumb in real time into precise movements of the surgical instruments fitted in the arms of the robot. Three of them are equipped with small-size surgical instruments inserted into the patient’s body through laparoscopic ports. Two emulate the surgeon’s left and right hand movements while at the same time eliminating such imperfections as the tremor of human hands. The system also prevents slippage or sudden unnatural movements of the surgical instruments which can be a potential hazard in open or laparoscopic procedures. Thanks to the small size of the da Vinci robot’s arms, it is possible to operate with a minimum incision, only 1-2 cm, of the patient’s body and thereby minimise tissue damage. The fourth arm is an endoscopic camera supporting the surgeon’s eye, responsible for transmitting a three-dimensional image from the inside of the patient’s body to the console.
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Patient’s safety and comfort
Despite the use of advanced technology and computer support, each movement of the instruments as well as each step during the procedure is controlled and made directly and exclusively by the surgeon. The system is not programmable and cannot make any movements automatically. The surgeon thus remains the main initiator of the robot’s movements and bears full responsibility for the course of the entire procedure. During the procedure they can rely on surgical assistants and nurse anaesthetists who stay at the patient’s side throughout the procedure. The da Vinci system of surgical support combines therefore the advantages of open surgery and minimally invasive surgery – for the benefit of the patients.