A doctor guides robotic arms to do urologic surgery. This is done through several tiny keyhole incisions.
Examples of urologic surgeries that have been successfully done using this technique include:
Compared to more traditional procedures, robotic-assisted surgery may result in:
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.
Depending on the reason for your surgery, your doctor may do the following:
Leading up to the procedure:
General anesthesia will be used. It will block any pain and keep you asleep through the surgery.
Several small keyhole incisions will be made in the abdomen. Carbon dioxide gas will be passed into the area. This will make it easier for internal structures to be viewed. A small camera, called an endoscope will be passed through one of the incisions. The camera will light, magnify, and project the structures onto a video screen. The camera will be attached to one of the robotic arms. The other arms will hold instruments for grasping, cutting, dissecting, and stitching. For example:
While sitting at a console near the operating table, the doctor will use lenses to look at a magnified 3D image of the inside of the body. Another doctor will stay by the table to adjust the camera and tools. The robotic arms and tools will be guided by movements of the surgeon. After the tools are removed, stitches or staples will be used to close the surgical area.
About 2-4 hours, depending on the procedure
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications. You may also feel discomfort from the gas used during the procedure. This can last up to 3 days.
About 1-2 days, depending on the procedure
To help with your recovery at home:
Total recovery usually takes about 3-6 weeks.
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Urology Care Foundation
Canadian Urological Association
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
Bladder cancer—robot-assisted laparoscopic radical or simple cystectomy. The University of Chicago Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.ucurology.org/procedures/laparoscopic-surgery/__bladder-cancer--robot-assisted-laparoscopic-radical-or-simple-cystectomy. Accessed March 27, 2018.
Carmack AJ, Siddiq FM, Leveillee RJ. Novel use of da Vinci Robotic Surgical System: Removal of seminal vesicle cyst in previously dissected pelvis. Urology. 2006;67(1):199.
Megaureter. Boston Children’s Hospital website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/m/megaureter. Accessed March 27, 2018.
Nerve-sparing robotic radical prostatectomy. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://urology.jhu.edu/MIS/roboticRRP.php. Accessed March 27, 2018.
Passerotti CC, Diamond DA, Borer JG, Eisner BH, Barrisford G, Nguyen HT. Robot-assisted laparoscopic ureteroureterostomy: description of technique. J Endourol. 2008;22(4):581-584.
Robotic dismembered pyeloplasty. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/17443-robotic-dismembered-pyeloplasty. Accessed March 27, 2018.
Last reviewed March 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Donald W. Buck II, MD Last Updated: 5/29/2014