Frequently Asked Questions about da Vinci Robotic Surgery - Genesis Health System

Frequently Asked Questions

What is robotic-assisted surgery?

Robotic-assisted surgery is a form of minimally-invasive surgery (MIS) that is performed through small incisions. During a da Vinci robotic-assisted surgical procedure, the surgeon sits at a console while viewing a high-definition, 3D image of the patient’s target anatomy. The surgeon’s hand, wrist and finger movements made at the console (outside of the surgical field) are translated into precise, real-time movement of surgical instruments attached to three or four robotic arms.

Robotic-assisted surgery allows surgeons to perform many types of complex procedures with more precision, flexibility and control than is possible with conventional techniques.

What are da Vinci Surgical Systems and who are they made by?

da Vinci Xi® Surgical Systems are advanced robotic-assisted surgical platforms designed to expand a surgeon’s operating capabilities and offer a state-of-the-art minimally invasive option for patients. To date, Intuitive Surgical has launched four robotic-assisted surgical system models, including the latest model, the da Vinci Xi® System, now at Genesis Medical Center, Davenport.

What types of procedures are da Vinci Surgical Systems approved for?

Since the year 2000, da Vinci Surgical Systems have been used for more than 3 million minimally invasive procedures in surgical specialties, including:

  • Urology (prostate, bladder and kidney cancer),
  • Gynecology (benign and cancerous hysterectomy; myomectomy),
  • General surgery (colorectal; ventral and inguinal hernia repair),
  • Thoracic surgery (lobectomy; mediastinal mass)
  • Cardiac surgery (mitral valve repair; pulmonary resections)
More detailed information on surgical specialties is available at:

How is a robotic-assisted surgery different than laparoscopy?

Both traditional laparoscopy and robotic-assisted surgery are forms of minimally-invasive surgery.

In traditional laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon performs the procedure holding rigid instruments and views the surgical area through an endoscopic camera that is projected onto a monitor. In use, the tools move in the opposite direction of the surgeon's hands due to the pivot point design. The tools used in traditional laparoscopy have four degrees of movement.

With da Vinci, the surgeon sits at a Surgeon Console while viewing a high-definition, 3D image of the target anatomy. The surgeon's fingers grasp the master controls with their hands and wrists naturally positioned relative to their body.

Three or four robotic arms, which hold an endoscope (camera) and surgical instruments, carry out the surgeon's commands. The system translates the surgeon's hand, wrist and finger movements into precise, real-time movement of the surgical instruments positioned inside the patient’s body. These instruments can bend and rotate far greater than both traditional lap instruments and the human wrist. Every surgical maneuver is under the direct control of the surgeon.

During a surgical procedure, the system displays high-definition, 3D imagery to the surgeon via the Surgeon Console and to the operating room staff via the Vision Cart. 

Why is the technology called da Vinci?

The name “da Vinci” pays homage to Leonardo da Vinci, the 15th century inventor, painter, philosopher and Renaissance man. Leonardo da Vinci is widely known for advancing the study of human anatomy. He was also intrigued by mechanics and automation, which eventually led to the design of the first known robot, "Leonardo's Robot," which was likely made around the year 1495. 

Are the operating surgeons in the room? Can they operate remotely?

The surgeon performing the procedure is located at a console in the operating room in close proximity to the patient and surgical support staff. The da Vinci Surgical Systems could theoretically be used to operate over long distances. However, optimizing the system for remote or telesurgery applications is not a focus of the company's product design and development efforts. 

What is the da Vinci Firefly technology and how does it work?

The Firefly Fluorescence Imaging enables surgeons to switch between standard, visible light and near-infrared imaging during MIS procedures. When a surgeon uses Firefly imaging in conjunction with an injectable fluorescent dye, tissue with blood flow is highlighted in a green color and tissue without blood flow appears gray in the surgeon's view, helping to identify target anatomy.