Krisha McCoy, MS
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:
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 suturing; for example:
While sitting at a console near the operating table, the doctor will use lenses to look at a magnified 3-D 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, sutures 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
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
Total recovery usually takes about 3-6 weeks.
It is important for you to monitor your recovery after you leave the hospital. Alert your doctor to any problems right away. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
Urology Care Foundation
Canadian Urological Association
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
Bladder cancer—robot-assisted laparoscopic radical or simple cystectomy. University of Chicago website. Available at:
http://www.ucurology.org/procedures/laparoscopic-surgery/__bladder-cancer--robot-assisted-laparoscopic-radical-or-simple-cystectomy. Accessed February 19, 2016.
Carmack AJ, Siddiq FM, et al. Novel use of da Vinci Robotic Surgical System: Removal of seminal vesicle cyst in previously dissected pelvis.
Megaureter. Boston Children’s Hospital website. Available at:
http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/megaureter/overview. Accessed February 19, 2016.
Passerotti CC, Diamond DA, et al. Robot-assisted laparoscopic ureteroureterostomy: description of technique.
J Endourol. 2008;22:581-584.
Robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at:
http://urology.jhu.edu/MIS/roboticRRP.php. Accessed February 19, 2016.
Robotic dismembered pyeloplasty. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at:
http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/urology-kidney/treatments-procedures/robotic-dismembered-pyeloplasty. Accessed February 19, 2016.
Last reviewed March 2017 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
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