The daVinci Robotic system offers a less invasive alternative for some cardiac surgeries such as mitral valve repairs and harvesting internal mammary arteries for heart bypass surgeries.
With the daVinci system, surgeons can perform closed-chest heart and lung surgery by entering the patient’s chest through three small incisions called ports, each about the size of a keyhole. One port is for the endoscope, a tiny camera attached to a fiber-optic cable. The other two ports allow access for the robot’s pencil-sized arms that have pincer-like “fingers” that mimic the movements of the surgeon’s forearms and wrists.
At a separate viewing and control console, the surgeon looks at the surgical site through a binocular camera. Using the camera, surgeons can move the instruments inside the patient’s chest with greater accuracy than their own fingers would allow. The robot’s “wrists” move the surgical tools, cutting, clamping and sewing with greater range of motion than humanly possible. Using sophisticated models, the system filters out even the slightest tremor of the surgeon’s hand.