Robotic-Assisted Surgery

Robotic-assisted surgery is a minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery that uses a robotic interface to control surgical instruments. With this specially designed system, the surgeon gets a magnified, three-dimensional view of the surgical area and is able to maneuver instruments more precisely during complex and delicate procedures.
 
After making a few small incisions, each about the size of a dime, the surgeon inserts special tools called trocars that are equipped with small surgical instruments and a miniature camera. These trocars are attached to robotic arms and are controlled by the surgeon who is sitting at a console in the operating room. The robotic arms mimic the surgeon's every movement, but with greater dexterity, precision and control than a human hand can achieve.

At Houston Methodist, our specially trained and credentialed surgeons are leaders in robotic surgery. The state-of-the-art robotic-assisted surgical system enables them to perform even the most intricate and delicate procedures, bringing patients expanded surgical options that lead to better outcomes.

Patient Benefits
Since its introduction a few years ago, robotic surgery has been used in thousands of procedures, proving its safety and effectiveness. Patients benefit from the least invasive, safest surgical treatment for even the most complex conditions. During robotic-assisted surgery, the physician uses small incisions to improve patient outcomes compared to traditional open surgery: 
  • Less trauma to the body
  • Less risk of infection
  • Less blood loss and need for blood transfusions
  • Significantly less pain and scarring
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Faster recovery and return to normal activities

Through the use of robotic technology, our highly skilled surgeons achieve the best possible outcomes for patients while minimizing risk for complications. 

Expertise

Houston Methodist surgeons perform hundreds of robotic procedures each year and use this technology to treat a range of diseases and disorders, including heart disease, prostate cancer, uterine tumors and uterine fibroids. Our state-of-the-art facilities are equipped with four da Vinci® Surgical Systems, making our operating rooms some of the most advanced in the country. In addition, we are committed to educating physicians outside of our hospital in the use of robotic technology. One of the largest and most comprehensive education and research facilities in the world, the Houston Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation & EducationSM (MITIE) is defining a revolutionary platform for the ongoing training of physicians and health care providers. Surgeons and other health professionals are able to continually refine and acquire new skills through hands-on training that allow them to perform at optimal levels throughout their careers.

Applications
Procedures that require high levels of dexterity and precision as well as improved visualization of the surgical field are those selected for robotic-assisted surgery and include some of the following: 
  • Cardiac surgeries including mitral valve repair
  • Urological surgeries such as prostatectomy to remove the prostate and nephrectomy to remove the kidney
  • Gynecological surgeries such as hysterectomy to remove the uterus, myomectomy to remove fibroids, and sacrocolpopexy to repair prolapsed organs in the pelvis 

Cardiac Robotic Surgery
Mitral valve repair surgery is one of several procedures that can be performed using robotic surgery. If you have mitral valve prolapse, you may be a candidate for robotic valve repair. With this procedure, a surgeon repairs the valve rather than replaces it with an artificial one. This benefits the patient in many significant ways because it prevents the need for taking life-long blood thinners, lowers the likelihood of reoperation, reduces the risk of surgical complications, offers a higher long-term survival rate, and improves heart function. Robotic surgery requires only small incisions and offers direct access to the heart valve, enabling surgeons to complete the surgery far more efficiently than they could when using a traditional open surgical approach.
 
Urologic Robotic Surgery
If you have prostate cancer and your doctor recommends surgery, you may be a candidate for robotic prostatectomy. With this approach, the surgeon removes the prostate without damaging the nerves that control erectile function and without damaging nearby organs.
Partial nephrectomy using robotic surgery may be performed if your doctor recommends kidney surgery for cancer. Using this surgical technique, surgeons remove only the diseased part of the kidney or the cancerous tumor, sparing as much as possible of the healthy, functioning tissue. An injected dye allows the surgeon to selectively clamp the blood supply to the cancerous part of the kidney and preserve healthy kidney tissue as a means of prevention for future kidney disease.
 
Gynecologic Robotic Surgery
A number of gynecologic procedures that were traditionally performed using open-surgery techniques can also be performed robotically.
 
If you have a gynecologic cancer and require a hysterectomy or the removal of your uterus, you may be a candidate for robotic surgery. During robotic-assisted cancer operations, the surgeon carefully dissects and removes lymph nodes with better visualization of pelvic anatomy.
 
Myomectomy, or the removal of benign (non-cancerous) fibroids in the uterus, can also be performed using robotic surgery. The precision of the robotic technique allows the surgeon to cut around and remove each uterine fibroid, and then carefully repair the uterine wall to minimize potential bleeding, infection and scarring, which reduced the risk of uterine rupture during future pregnancies.
 
Sacrocolpopexy is a surgical repair of weakened muscles and ligaments that cause pelvic organs, such as the uterus or vaginal vault, to drop down. Robotic sacrocolpopexy provides enhanced views of the pelvic anatomy and enables the surgeon to perform the intricate movements required to lift the prolapsed tissue into the correct position and place a surgical mesh that holds it in place.

TREATMENT LOCATIONS

Our physicians at Houston Methodist specialize in robotic-assisted surgery at the following convenient locations: