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Frequently Asked Questions

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Q. What is minimally invasive surgery?

A. Minimally invasive surgery is surgery typically performed through small incisions (1-2 centimeters), or operating ports, rather than large incisions (15-30 centimeters).

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Q. What are the benefits of the robotic surgery system?

A. Because of the smaller incisions and improved surgical precision, patient benefits may include a shorter hospital stay, less pain, less risk of infection, less blood loss, reduced need for transfusions, less scarring, faster recovery and a quicker return to normal daily activities.

Benefits for a surgeon may include increased range of motion, improved dexterity, vastly enhanced 3-D, HD, 10X magnified visualization of the surgical field and improved access, all of which lead to greater surgical precision.

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Q. What are the benefits of single incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS)?

A. Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery (SILS) is a single port access surgery performed through a single incision in the belly button. Instead of requiring multiple12-millimeter or smaller incisions associated with traditional laparoscopic surgery — incisions that may leave visible scars — the SILS procedure is accomplished with a single 20-millimeter incision through the belly button, resulting in the potential for no visible scar.

Other benefits may include minimal surgical trauma, less pain and blood loss associated with the multiple points of entry used during traditional laparoscopic surgery, and a faster recovery time.

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da vinci s surgical system
Top: The main components of the da Vinci S Surgical System. Bottom left: da Vinci's stereoviewer. Bottom right: The system's sensitive surgical controls.

Q. Will the da Vinci Si Robotic Surgery System make the surgeon unnecessary?

A. No. The System replicates the surgeon's movements in real time. It cannot be programmed or make decisions on its own to move in any way.

In fact, when the surgeon pulls back from the view screen, da Vinci freezes — until the surgeon returns to become fully engaged with da Vinci's controls. Compared with human physiology, da Vinci's enhanced visualization of the surgical field and increased dexterity enables surgeons to be more precise.

As a result, surgeons can advance their technique and enhance their capability for performing complex, minimally invasive surgery.

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Q. Is a surgeon using the da Vinci Si Robotic Surgery System operating in "virtual reality"?

A. No. The surgeon is seated at a console adjacent to the patient and views the actual image of the surgical field while operating in real-time.

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Q. Have the da Vinci Si Robotic Surgery System and the SILS system been cleared by the FDA?

A. Yes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the da Vinci and SILS surgical systems for a wide range of procedures.

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Q: Are the robotic and SILS surgery systems covered by insurance?

A. Most health plans that cover minimally invasive surgery now cover the da Vinci Si Surgery System and SILS, which are categorized as robot-assisted minimally invasive surgeries. It is important to note that your coverage will depend on your plan and benefits package.

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Q: What procedures have been performed using the da Vinci Si Robotic Surgery System?

A. To date, tens of thousands of procedures including general, urologic, gynecologic, thoracoscopic, and thoracoscopically assisted cardiotomy procedures have been performed using the da Vinci Surgical System.

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Q: What procedures have been performed using SILS?

A. The SILS System is used in procedures that treat a range of conditions, including:

  • Cholecystectomy: Surgery to remove the gallbladder.
  • Nephrectomy: Surgery to remove a kidney.
  • Hysterectomy: Surgery to remove of the uterus (womb).
  • Appendectomy: Surgery to remove the appendix.
  • Tubal ligation: Surgery for sterilization in which a woman's fallopian tubes are clamped and blocked; also known as having one's "tubes tied."
  • Prostatectomy: Surgery to remove the prostate.
  • Hiatal hernia: Surgery repairing a hiatal hernia, which occurs when part of the stomach pushes through the diaphragm into the chest.

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