How da Vinci® Surgical System Works

da Vinci® Surgical System

The robotic system consists of three components, which include:

  • A remote console from where the surgeon operates
  • Patient side cart, which includes interactive robotic arms
  • 3D vision system and cart
At the start of the procedure, the surgeon fills the patient’s abdomen with carbon dioxide using a small incision less than 2 cm. After the abdomen is distended, a light and camera is inserted to view the abdominal contents. If the surgeon feels the operation can be completed robotically, the surgeon will proceed and make three to six incisions approximately 1-2 cm in length. Through these incisions, cannulas, or instrument holders, are inserted through the skin into the abdomen. The patient side cart, which includes flexible, mechanical arms, is then brought to the patient and “docked,” or connected to the cannulas.

Once the robot is docked, the surgeon sits at a master console, which is in the same room as the patient. An assistant surgeon remains at the bedside to change instruments and assist.

At the console, the surgeon sees a magnified, three-dimensional view of the operating field and is able to direct the robot’s arm movements by placing his/her hands in the master control handles. The surgeon’s movements are scaled and translated to precise movements of the instruments at the bedside. The surgeon’s hand tremor is also filtered and removed.

The robotic arms and specialized endowrist instruments combine to allow the instruments to move similar to that of a human wrist. The system allows seven degrees of freedom, or axes of movement.

Once the procedure is complete, the patient side cart is unhooked, or undocked, from the patient. All of the instruments and cannulas are removed and the small incisions are closed.