No one looks forward to surgery, no matter how much better their health and life may be after it’s over. There’s a risk for complications any time an incision is made into your body. While modern medicine controls these risks well, there’s always room for improvement.
Reducing the size of surgical incisions is a common-sense place to start. When the target of surgery is behind layers of muscle, cutting through healthy tissue is unavoidable. Open surgery techniques often require long recovery times because of damage to muscles more than the target of repair. Surgeons are always on the lookout for ways to minimize the size of incisions to strike a balance between access to their target and damage to surrounding tissue.
Innovations in robotics
As computer technology becomes faster and more capable, our control over surgical robots grows by leaps and bounds. This refined level of precision is even more precise than the steadiest human hand. Robotic tools can move in ways that handheld tools can’t.
The third part of the quest for minimally invasive surgery involves the surgeon’s ability to see. Fiber optics have long afforded views inside the body that don’t require large incisions. Called laparoscopy, keyhole incisions of about one-half of an inch are all that’s necessary for many procedures, minimizing healthy tissue damage.
Since computer-assisted surgical robotic tools can often use keyhole incisions too, laparoscopic robotically assisted surgery is fast becoming the standard of care for many procedures that were once done using open surgery techniques. The benefits are simply too substantial to ignore.
Easing the recovery burden
Minimizing healthy tissue damage is reason enough to support robotic laparoscopy, but there are other benefits for the patient. Reduced scarring is another obvious one, and the list goes on, including:
- Infection: with less direct contact between patient and surgeon, transferring bacteria is less likely, and airborne contaminants have less chance of penetrating through incisions
- Bleeding: blood loss during and after surgery is easier to control since damage to blood vessels is also reduced
- Pain medication: the limited nature of incisions typically results in less need for post-surgery analgesics
- Hernia: open surgery can introduce weak spots in muscles, which could later fail, permitting movement of internal organs through muscle walls
- Shorter hospital stays: laparoscopic procedures can often be performed on an outpatient basis or with an overnight hospital stay
- Faster recovery: long periods of bed rest after open surgery can contribute to bone loss and muscle atrophy, as well as increased risk of chest infections and deep-vein thrombosis
Overall, the risk of any post-surgical complications is much smaller using robotic laparoscopic techniques when compared with open surgery. As a field that’s still developing, new procedures and techniques are added regularly.
Dr. Frank Candela and Dr. David Schreier specialize in robotic laparoscopic surgery, experts with the da Vinci surgical system, one of the leading robotic surgical platforms in use today. To explore laparoscopic options for your upcoming surgery, contact Candela and Schreier Medical Corporation, by phone or online, to schedule a consultation today.