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Robotic surgery (da Vinci® Surgical System)

Robotic surgery (da Vinci Surgical System) for liver cancer

The da Vinci Surgical System may be a better treatment option for liver cancer patients, as it offers a minimally invasive alternative to complex surgery, which may result in fewer side effects.

What is the da Vinci® Surgical System?

The da Vinci® Surgical System offers a minimally invasive alternative to both open surgery and laparoscopy. Because it requires only a few tiny incisions and offers greater vision, precision and control for the surgeon, patients can often recover sooner, move on to additional treatments if needed, and get back to daily life quicker. 

Potential benefits of the da Vinci system for patients include:

  • Reduced pain
  • Lower risk of infection or complications
  • Less blood loss (fewer transfusions)
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Less scarring
  • Faster return to normal activities (e.g., sexual function, urinary continence)

How it works

In traditional minimally invasive surgery, the surgeon operates while standing, using hand-held instruments that cannot bend or rotate. The surgeon must look up and away to a nearby standard 2D video monitor to see an image of the target anatomy.

With the da Vinci System’s ergonomic design, the surgeon is able to operate from a comfortable, seated position at a console, with eyes and hands in line with the instruments, and a magnified, high-definition 3D view of the target anatomy. Some potential advantages include:

  • Greater surgical precision
  • Increased range of motion
  • Improved dexterity
  • Enhanced visualization
  • Improved access

“The addition of robotic surgery and the da Vinci Surgical System offers patients leading-edge, individualized options that are both minimally invasive and supportive of quality of life,” says Midwestern surgical oncologist Dr. Charles Komen Brown. “With this innovative technology, surgeons gain more vision, precision and control while making smaller, less invasive incisions.”

Seated comfortably at an ergonomically-designed console, the surgeon first makes a few tiny incisions to introduce miniaturized instruments and a high-definition camera inside the patient. The camera allows the surgeon to view a highly magnified, high-resolution 3D image of the surgical site.

With eyes and hands in line with the instruments, the surgeon uses controls below the viewer to move the instrument arms and camera. The system then translates, in real time, the surgeon’s hand, wrist and finger movements into precise movements of the instruments inside the patient.

Throughout the procedure, the surgeon controls every surgical maneuver. The System cannot be programmed or act in any way without the surgeon’s input.

The da Vinci System is most commonly used for urologic and gynecologic surgical procedures. Patients with previous radiation treatment, surgery or physical mobility issues may not be candidates for da Vinci.