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Will your next surgery be robotic?

There were more than 693,000 robotic procedures performed in the United States in 2017, according to the health care market research firm, iData. The number is expected to increase as robotic systems used for spinal, neuro, orthopedic, cardiac and other surgeries are being placed in medical centers. Rest assured that robotic surgery does not mean CP3O or some other robot will be the only one in the operating room. Robotic surgery should be more accurately referred to as robot-assisted surgery since a surgeon is still present and performing the surgery. The only change is that the surgery is being performed with the help of a robotic system.

Who came up with the idea?
The first robotic system approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000 was the da Vinci Surgical System. It was approved for laparoscopic surgery, which refers to the minimally-invasive surgical method that use thin tubes that are  inserted through small incisions in the abdomen or pelvis and provide a path for small surgical tools and a camera to view the surgical area. In the past, many of these procedures could only be performed by making a very large incision.

How does it work?
The most common robotic system has a camera arm and mechanical arms with surgical instruments attached to them. The patient is given a general anesthesia so they are sleeping and do not feel pain. The surgeon sits at a computer station and directs the mechanical arms. The first step is to make small cuts to insert the instruments and a camera. The images from the camera of the inside of the body can be viewed on a screen by the surgeon. The surgeon places his fingers into master controls, which allows him to operate the robotic arms. The robot matches the hand movements of the doctor to perform the procedure with the tiny instruments attached to the mechanical arms. The surgeon can control the scale of the robot’s movements. For example, he might choose a 3-to-1 scale, which means for every 3 inches the surgeon moves, the robotic arms will move 1 inch. In this way, the surgeon can be very precise in his work.

Is there an advantage?
Robotic surgery provides several advantages for the surgeon using the console. The surgeon is able to see 3-D images of the patient’s body during the surgery. He can enlarge the image to see things more clearly. Since the surgeon’s hands and eyes are always perfectly aligned with the surgical site, it is easier to see and control the procedure. Doctors also report feeling less fatigue during long surgical procedures.

Benefits for the patient are also plentiful. Because the surgery is more precise, there is usually less pain, less blood loss and less scarring. Recovery time after surgery is also often reduced. The shorter recovery time means the patient is able to return to normal daily activities in less time. In some cases, the outcomes are better than with traditional surgical methods.

Should all surgery be robot-assisted?
To begin, all surgery comes with risks of infection and complications, no matter what method is used. There are also some surgical procedures that can’t be performed with robot-assisted methods. It is up to your surgeon to decide the best surgical method for your particular set of circumstances. Robot-assisted systems are costly and not all hospitals have them available. Whether to use robot-assisted surgical techniques is a decision the surgeon needs to make.

The importance of an effective recovery
No matter how the surgery was performed, there needs to be a time of recovery for monitoring healing, regaining strength and checking for complications. Instead of hoping the time of recovery goes well, many people choose to recover in a short-term care facility where they can be assured of round-the-clock care.

Glenview Terrace, as a five-star Medicare rated rehabilitation center, has earned a reputation for offering one of the best post-hospital care programs in the area. Instead of having to rely on a friend or family member to help you with recovery, you can rest assured that the expert staff will address all your needs. They provide one-on-one physical, occupational and speech therapies up to seven days a week and provide round-the-clock care for every need that arises from wound care to pain management. Healthy meals, quiet resting times and compassionate care provide a healthy and stress-free recovery experience.

This specialized care is offered in an elegant environment. The well-appointed rooms and suites are filled with custom-designed furnishings and include a deluxe bathroom with a private shower. Guests are pampered with a variety of amenities including attentive concierge service, morning coffee and newspaper delivered daily to the room, diverse menu selections and more.

When it comes to recovering after surgery, choose to recover at Glenview Terrace, where the goal is getting you quickly and safely back to your independent lifestyle. For more information or to arrange a tour, visit or call 847-729-9090.