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Robot-Assisted Surgery

Robotic Surgery 

UC San Diego Health's expertise in robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery across multiple specialties makes us one of the most advanced health systems for robotic surgery in the nation. Unlike other hospitals that use robotic technology primarily to treat urologic diseases, UC San Diego Health has 25 highly specialized surgeons who use robotic surgery to treat a broad spectrum of conditions.

Advanced, computer-enhanced technologies provide new alternatives to surgical procedures. Robotically assisted surgical systems allow doctors to perform highly complex procedures with more control and precision. These procedures are also usually minimally invasive surgeries, performed through tiny, sometimes scarless, incisions.

Our capabilities include:

  • Cancer / oncology (bladder, colorectal, gynecologic, kidney, prostate, head and neck)
  • Cardiology (mitral valve prolapse, coronary artery disease)
  • Gastroenterology (achalasia, Zenker's diverticulum, gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Gynecology (endometriosis, pelvic floor disorders, uterine fibroids)
  • Head and neck surgery (ENT)
  • Neurology
  • Obesity / bariatric surgery
  • Urology (diseased kidney, diseased prostate, diseased bladder)

Essentially a laparoscopic tool, the robot used in robot-assisted surgery requires only a few small (0.5 to 1.5 cm) incisions through which a tiny camera and surgical instruments are inserted. Instead of manually controlling those instruments, the surgeon operates from a control console a few feet away while viewing the surgical field on a high-resolution monitor. Robotic arms equipped with endoscopes respond to the precise movements of the surgeon’s hands.

Robot-assisted surgery has significant advantages over traditional laparoscopic and open surgical techniques:

  • It is associated with improved patient outcomes and less pain, blood loss, scarring, and time to recuperate.
  • The robotic system provides better visibility than in laparoscopic techniques — and even some open surgeries — because of 3D, high definition imaging.
  • Hand-eye coordination is intuitive, in contrast to laparoscopic systems, where the instruments’ movement on the monitor is opposite the direction of the surgeon’s hand.
  • Robotic surgical systems have seven degrees of motion, just like a human wrist; laparoscopic instruments are mostly restricted to four degrees of motion.
  • Endoscopes fixed to the robotic arm are more stable than hand-held endoscopes.