Robotic Surgery with Madhav Boyapati MD

Q: What exactly is robotic surgery?
A: Robotic surgery is laparoscopy (using small incisions and then inserting the laparoscopic instruments to operate) that uses the robot or computer arm to move laparoscopic instruments rather than our hands directly.

Q: Is there a difference between robotic surgery and minimally invasive surgery?
Robotic surgery is minimally invasive surgery, like regular laparoscopy. In laparoscopic surgery, the doctor is making the movements of the laparoscopic instruments. In robotic surgery, the robot makes the movements that the doctor controls. 

Q: What sort of training, if any, is involved for robotic surgery?
It involves a special training course and preceptorship for a few cases and case reviews. Professionals in robotic surgery proctor the doctors through several cases.

Q: What are the potential patient benefits of robotic surgery in comparison to traditional surgery?
Shorter stays in hospital, less pain, and less blood loss. Some patients even go home the same day as the procedure.

Q: What are the doctorial benefits of robotic surgery?
Doctors have more precise control, more degrees of movement, and better visualization due to the 3-D camera.

Q: Does the term “robotic” entail that a surgeon is not needed to perform the surgery or operate the machinery?
No, the robot will not work without manual control by a person.

Q: Explain the process of using the robotic machinery.
You have to attach the robotic arms to the instruments (docking the robot). During the procedure, the doctor is next to the patient and is looking through a console to see inside. The doctor uses controls to move his hands so that the robotic instruments can replicate the movements of the doctor’s hands.

Q: What is the difference between a traditional hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) and a da Vinci hysterectomy?
A: Traditional open hysterectomy has two versions. One uses a large incision in the abdomen in which you go through the layers and pull out the uterus; the other goes through the vagina and pulls out the uterus from the vagina. Robotic da Vinci hysterectomy uses small incisions, instead of one large incision, and then operates with the robotic tools to remove the uterus and pull it out through the vagina.

Q: Why are you interested in robotic surgery?
Doctors can offer patients a choice that is more convenient for the patient. It is a choice that can get the patient home quicker.

Q: In conclusion, why should a patient choose robotic surgery or, more specifically, a da Vinci hysterectomy?
A: There is less pain, less hospital stay, less blood loss. All in all, it is a more convenient choice for many patients.