Robotic surgery makes complicated procedures
safer, more effective
Childrens is the only
pediatric center in the country with the Da Vinci mobile system
Urologic surgeon Craig
Peters, MD, is used to looking through a camera to perform
surgical procedures, but the images hes always seen have
been two-dimensional. Last March, however, he and colleague Joseph
Borer, MD, became the first Childrens Hospital Boston
surgeons to use the new tele-robotic surgical unit.
The robotic operating system, which is controlled with a console
in the operating room, allows surgeons to see their patients in
three dimensions while performing complicated procedures more
safely and effectively.
Childrens is the only pediatric center in the country with
the FDA-approved Da Vinci mobile system. Its instruments mimic
the wrist motion of a human hand, but on a much smaller scale.
It allows surgeons to perform more precise and complex reconstructive
surgery inside the abdomen, chest and other body cavities without
requiring a large opening.
The first procedure Drs. Peters and Borer performed was a pyeloplasty,
involving the removal of an obstruction from the kidney and the
reconnection of the kidneys drainage system. The procedure
usually requires laparoscopybut with the new robotic unit,
the surgery was quicker and easier. The operation went quite
well, and I found that I could visualize more effectively,
says Dr. Peters.
del Nido, MD, associate chief of Cardiovascular Surgery,
helped bring the system to Childrens and has begun using
it for heart procedures such as ligation of a patent ductus, or
closing the fetal blood vessel leading to the lungs when it fails
to close naturally after birth. He says the minimally invasive
surgery unit has many advantages: We can avoid breaking
bones, and the incision is tiny compared to open chest surgery,
which means less pain and less scarring for the child.
So far, the FDA has approved use of this system for laparoscopic,
thoracoscopic and radical prostatectomy surgeries. The future
of this technology includes expected FDA clearances for intra-cardiac
surgery and coronary bypass surgery, as well as applications for
orthopaedics, otolaryngology, neurosurgery, and plastic surgery.
This technology could change the way we do surgery,
says Dr. del Nido. Many procedures will become dramatically
safer and less expensive, and patients will recover more quickly.