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How does the da Vinci® surgical system work?

The da Vinci® surgical system, developed in the USA, is the most state-of-the-art system for minimally invasive surgery. In contrast to conventional laparoscopy, the da Vinci® camera transmits a spatial image and provides the surgeon with optimum visual control of the instruments, which are only a few millimetres in size, within the surgical field.

The surgical unit consists of three components:

  • The surgeon’s console
  • The patient-side robotics unit
  • The video tower for the control of the 3D camera and lighting

The surgeon’s console is the centrepiece of the da Vinci® surgical system.

This is where the surgeon is transmitted the spatial 3D image of the surgical field and where the surgeon operates the control elements, which precisely transmit her movements to the robotics unit.
In so doing, the system filters uneasy or jerky movements.

The arms of the robotics unit contain both the micro-surgical instruments used for surgery and the camera unit that transmits the 3D image to the console. The robotics unit is thus a multi-arm surgical assistant that provides the surgeon with an exact overview of the surgical field and directly translates the surgeon’s movements.

Please note: the robotics unit does not perform any independent activities; it merely translates the surgeon’s movements in the console within the patient’s body.

da Vinci® example video:

This video shows how the surgeon and the robotics unit interact.
(Source: Intuitive Surgical)