Q: What is minimally invasive surgery (MIS)?
A: MIS is surgery typically performed through
small incisions, or operating ports, rather than large incisions,
resulting in potentially shorter recovery times, fewer
complications, reduced hospitalization costs and less trauma to
the patient. While MIS has become the standard-of-care for some
surgical procedures, MIS has not been adopted for other complex
procedures - for example, prostatectomy.
Adventist Medical Center believes MIS adoption has been slowed
because surgical procedures that require manipulating fine
tissue, such as dissecting and suturing, are more difficult to do
in MIS than in open surgery. However, robotic-assisted surgery
enables the extension of MIS techniques to new types of complex
Q: Does the robotic system replace the surgeon?
A: On the contrary, the robotic system enables
surgeons to be more precise, advancing their technique and
enhancing their capability to perform complex minimally invasive
surgery. The system replicates the surgeon's movements in real
time -- it cannot be programmed to move on its own. It is not
able to make decisions, move or perform any surgical maneuver
without the surgeon's direct control.
Q: Is a surgeon using the robotic system operating in
A: Thanks to a miniature video camera, the
surgeon views the actual surgical field where he is operating in
real time. The surgeon has a high-resolution, 3-D view of the
surgical area and never sees a "virtual" image. Surgery is done
through tiny incisions using miniature wristed instruments. The
system cannot be programmed to perform any maneuver on its own
outside of the surgeon's direct, real-time control.
Q: What are the benefits of robotic-assisted surgery
compared with traditional methods of surgery?
A: Some of the major benefits experienced by
surgeons include greater surgical precision, increased range of
motion, improved dexterity and enhanced visualization. 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-and
Q: Is robotic-assisted surgery covered by
A: Any insurance that covers MIS generally
covers our robotic-assisted surgery. This is true for widely held
insurance plans like Medicare. It is important to note that
coverage will depend on each individual's benefits package.
Q: Has the FDA cleared the da Vinci Surgical
A: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
has cleared the da Vinci Surgical System for a wide range of
procedures. Refer to the FDA Clearance page for specific
clearances and representative uses.