Robotic surgery allows doctors to perform many types of complex procedures with more precision, flexibility and control than is possible with traditional procedures. Robotic surgery is often performed through tiny incisions. But sometimes it's used in open surgeries.

Robotic surgery also is called robot-assisted surgery.

Most often, a robotic surgery system includes a camera arm and mechanical arms with surgical instruments attached to them. The surgeon controls the arms while seated at a control center, called a console, near the operating table. The surgeon sees a magnified, high-definition, 3D view of the surgical site.

The surgeon leads other team members who assist during the operation.

Why it's done

Surgeons who use the robotic system find that it can increase precision, flexibility and control during the operation. The robotic system also allows them to better see the site, compared with traditional surgical methods. Using robotic surgery, surgeons can perform delicate and complex procedures that may be difficult or impossible with other methods.

Robotic surgery often is done through tiny openings in the skin and other tissues. This approach is called a minimally invasive surgery. The benefits of minimally invasive surgery include:

  • Fewer complications, such as surgical site infection.
  • Less pain and blood loss.
  • A shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery.
  • Smaller, less noticeable scars.

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Robotic surgery involves risk, some of which may be similar to risks of traditional open surgery, such as a small risk of infection and other complications.

Is robotic surgery right for you?

Robotic surgery isn't an option for everyone. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of robotic surgery. Ask how it compares with other techniques, such as other types of minimally invasive surgery and traditional open surgery.

Robotic surgery may not be available at medical centers near you.

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April 13, 2024
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  2. Garbarino GM, et al. Robotic versus open oncological gastric surgery in the elderly: A propensity score‑matched analysis. Journal of Robotic Surgery. 2021; doi:10.1007/s11701-020-01168-2.
  3. Terra RM, et al. Global status of the robotic thoracic surgery. Journal of Thoracic Disease. 2021; doi:10.21037/jtd-19-3271.
  4. Jensen NA. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic. Oct. 15, 2021.