Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine


How do I make an appointment with a physician trained in robotic surgery?

There are a number of surgeons in different areas of specialty trained on the robotic platform at Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital.  Submit a contact form to find one now.  Or, call (281) 737-2500. (Link Submit to the contact/appt form.)

What is robotic surgery exactly? 

Robotic surgery is a new surgical approach utilizing a technologically advanced robotic platform and minimally invasive technique to create a "third generation" of surgery.  Also referred to as Robotically-assisted MIS (minimally invasive surgery), robotic surgery has evolved over the past five years and is rapidly becoming part of a new "standard of care" at leading medical facilities worldwide. 

At the Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital, robotic surgery is performed using the
da Vinci® Surgical System.  This robotic system consists of an ergonomically designed "surgeon's console," a patient-side cart with four interactive robotic arms, the high-resolution 3-Dimensional InSite® Vision System and proprietary EndoWrist® Instruments. The surgeon's hand movements are scaled and seamlessly translated into very precise movements of the EndoWrist Instruments.   Read more about the robotic procedures performed at Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital.  (Link to the About Robotic Surgery section.)

How does robotic surgery differ from traditional surgical procedures.  Is my surgeon still performing the procedure?

Until now, the "standard of care" for many of the more complex conditions involving surgical intervention, such as open heart surgery and cancer surgery, was a traditional open surgical procedure.  Some laparoscopic procedures have over the years reduced the invasiveness of open surgery but can be limited in the type of procedures they facilitate.  Robotic surgery takes minimally invasive technology to the next level, creating an optimal operating environment for surgeons specially trained on the robotics platform.  Operating through a sophisticated "surgeon" console, surgeons have a magnified view of the anatomy and maximum access to even the tightest, most confined operative sites - with minimal disruption to surrounding organs, muscles, nerves and other soft tissue.     

Specially trained surgeons perform the procedure assisted by the enhanced technology of the da Vinci® Surgical System.  Surgeons are not replaced by a robotic surgical system.

What types of procedures can be performed with robotic surgery?

All types of common as well as complex procedures can be performed using the robotics platform of the da Vinci® Surgical System.  Today, robotic surgery is performed in nearly every area of medicine including cardiothoracic, gynecology, head and neck, urologyand general surgery. (Link to these sections created within in the site.)

Am I a candidate for robotic surgery?

Only your physician can determine if you're a good candidate for robotic surgery, based on your specific health information and the condition requiring treatment.  All available treatment options should be discussed. 

What are the risks of this type of surgery?

Every surgical procedure presents risks.  Despite the thorough examinations and preparation taken before any surgical procedure, it is not possible to guarantee how each patient will respond to surgery.  While the advanced technology of the robotics platform minimizes many of the risks associated with traditional open surgery, there are still risks.

Your physician can help you carefully assess any risks that may exist in your particular case.

What are the benefits of robotic surgery?

Among the greatest benefits of robotic surgery include the minimally invasive instruments, guided control and precision, magnified viewing of the anatomy and the less disruptive access to the operative site that it affords surgeons.  This less invasive approach is proving to reduce blood loss, risk of infection, need for transfusions and pain often associated with open surgery - prompting a faster recovery and better outcome.

The small 1-2 cm incisions reduce scarring, and the accuracy of robotic technology can reduce the need for subsequent and exploratory surgical procedures.

Benefits will vary from patient to patient.