The daVinci robotic system being used in gynecologic surgery at Mayo Clinic Arizona
allows gynecologists to perform advanced laparoscopic surgeries using a surgeon's console
connected to three robotic arms.
The daVinci system, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for gynecologic
surgery in 2005, is one of the newest technologies available for the treatment of
gynecologic cancer and other conditions. In Arizona, more than 350 procedures
have been performed using the robot at Mayo Clinic.
The robotic system is used to assist with a variety of complex, minimally-invasive
laparoscopic operations for benign and malignant female pelvic conditions, such as cancer
of the uterus and cervix. "Robotic surgery is especially useful in the performance of
hysterectomies, removal of fibroids while preserving the uterus, correction of vaginal
prolapse, and for the treatment of gynecologic cancers," says Javier Magrina, M.D.,
gynecologist and surgeon at Mayo Clinic Arizona.
The daVinci system offers all the benefits of laparoscopic surgery along with increased
precision and effectiveness. Patients undergoing laproscopic procedures typically experience
less pain, have fewer instances of infection and recover more quickly than those undergoing
"Robotic surgery is an upgraded form of minimally invasive surgery and is
associated with major patient benefits. The robotic operation is more precise than conventional
surgery and it allows a patient to return to normal activities much more quickly. We have
also noted a reduced use of pain medications after robotic surgery, indicating less tissue trauma,"
Many difficult laparoscopic procedures, such as laparoscopic suturing, are made easier by
the robot through the use of the 3-D visualization and increased instrument maneuverability.
How the robotic system works
The robotic system consists of two interactive mechanical arms, a camera arm,
a three-dimensional (3D) image processing system and a remote control unit.
The unit is located in the same operating room as the patient.
As the surgeon manipulates the remote control unit, the motions of the surgeon
are translated to the robotic arms. Each robotic arm consists of multiple appendages
connected by joints. The "hand" of the robot holds interchangeable
surgical instruments that can be moved in a manner similar to a human wrist.
At all times, a second surgeon is positioned at the operating table to assist
with exchanging the instruments on the robotic arms.