Robotic-assisted Surgery - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Minimally Invasive Surgery? A: Minimally invasive surgery is surgery performed through small incisions
resulting in potentially shorter recovery times, fewer complications, reduced
hospitalization costs and reduced trauma to the patient. Laparoscopy is a type
of minimally invasive surgery. Despite its widespread use, laparoscopic surgery
has been limited to a few routine procedures, because the standard laparoscopic instruments and video did not
provide the surgeon with the excellent visualization needed to perform
complex surgery like valve repair or nerve-sparing prostatectomy.
Q. What are the benefits of robotic assisted surgery, using the da Vinci
Surgical System compared with traditional methods of surgery? A. Some of the major benefits experienced by surgeons using the da Vinci
Surgical System over traditional approaches have been greater surgical precision,
increased range of motion, improved dexterity, enhanced visualization and improved
access. Benefits experienced by patients may include a shorter hospital stay,
less pain, less risk of infection, less blood loss, fewer transfusions, less
scarring, faster recovery and a quicker return to normal daily activities. None
of these benefits can be guaranteed, as surgery is necessarily both patient-
Q. Does the robotic assisted surgical system make the surgeon unnecessary?
A. The system replicates the surgeon's movements in real time. It cannot
be programmed, nor can it make decisions on its own to move in any way or perform
any type of surgical maneuver without the surgeon's input. Combined with the
enhanced three-dimensional visualization of the operative site it enables precise,
versatile instrument movement.
Q. Is a surgeon using the da Vinci Surgical System operating in "virtual reality?"
A. Although seated at a console a few feet away from the patient, the
surgeon views an actual image of the surgical field while operating in real-time,
through tiny incisions, using miniaturized, wristed instruments. At no time
does the surgeon see a virtual image or program/command the system to perform
any maneuver on its own/outside of the surgeon's direct, real-time control.
Q: Is this telesurgery? Can you operate over long distances?
A. The da Vinci Surgical System can theoretically be used to operate over long
distances. This capability, however, is not the primary focus of the company
and thus is not available with the current da Vinci Surgical System.
Q: Where is the da Vinci Surgical System being used now? A. The da Vinci Surgical System is being used in hundreds of locations
worldwide, in major centers in the United States, Austria, Belgium, Canada,
Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Romania, Saudi
Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Australia and Turkey.Tens
of thousands of procedures including general, urologic, gynecologic, thoracoscopic,
and thoracoscopically-assisted cardiotomy procedures have been performed using
the da Vinci Surgical System.
Q. How does the da Vinci Surgical System at Alegent Health compare to those
found at other area hospitals? A. Alegent Health's daVinci S is the state-of-the art, top of the line
system. It has many enhancements, including the 3DHD imaging system and a 4th
arm that the surgeon can use as an assistant. It is the first of its type in
the United States and Alegent Health will be the only health system in Nebraska to have it.
Q. Has the da Vinci Surgical System been cleared by the FDA? A. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the da Vinci
Surgical System for a wide range of procedures. Please see the FDA Clearance page for specific clearances and representative uses.
Q: Is da Vinci Surgery covered by insurance? A. da Vinci Surgery is categorized as robot-assisted minimally invasive
surgery, so any insurance that covers minimally invasive surgery generally covers
da Vinci Surgery. This is true for widely held insurance plans like Medicare.
It is important to note that your coverage will depend on your plan and benefits
package. For specifics regarding reimbursement for da Vinci Surgery, or if you
have been denied coverage, please call the Reimbursement Hotline at 1-888-868-4647
Q. Why is it called the da Vinci ® Surgical System? A. The product is called "da Vinci" in part because Leonardo da Vinci
invented the first robot. He also used unparalleled anatomical accuracy and
three-dimensional details to bring his masterpieces to life. The da Vinci Surgical
System similarly provides physicians with such enhanced detail and precision
that the System can simulate an open surgical environment while allowing operation
through tiny incisions.