In 1995, a physician with a keen business sense saw the commercial value of the emerging robotic technology. Frederic H. Moll, MD, acquired the license to the telepresence robotic surgical system developed by the NASA-SRI teams, and started a company called Intuitive Surgical Inc.® (Intuitive Surgical Inc., 2005; Satava, 2003). Intuitive Surgical Inc. used the telepresence robotic technology pioneered by the NASA-SRI team to develop a master-slave telepresence robotic surgical system they named daVinci®.
According to the manufacturer, the da Vinci System is called “da Vinci” in part because Leonardo da Vinci invented the first robot. The artist Leonardo also used anatomical accuracy and three-dimensional details to bring his works to life.
In July 2000, the FDA cleared da Vinci as an endoscopic instrument control system for use in laparo-scopic (abdominal) surgical procedures such as removal of the gallbladder and surgery for severe heartburn. In March 2001, the FDA cleared da Vinci for use in general non-cardiac thoracoscopic (inside the chest) surgical procedures--surgeries involving the lungs, esophagus, and the internal thoracic artery. This is also known as the internal mammary artery, a blood vessel inside the chest cavity. In coronary bypass surgery, surgeons detach the internal mammary artery and reroute it to a coronary artery. In June 2001, the FDA cleared da Vinci for use during laparascopic removal of the prostate (radical prostatectomy).
The da Vinci is intended to assist in the control of several endoscopic instruments, including rigid endoscopes, blunt and sharp dissectors, scissors, scalpels, and forceps. The system is cleared by the FDA to manipulate tissue by grasping, cutting, dissecting and suturing.
The da Vinci system consists of three components: the vision system, the patient-side cart, and the surgeon console.
The vision system includes the endoscope, the cameras, and other equipment to produce a 3D image of the operating field.
The patient-side cart has three robotic arms and an optional fourth arm. One arm holds the endoscope, while the other arms hold interchangeable surgical instruments. The da Vinci system uses EndoWrist surgical instruments, which mimic the movements of the human hand and wrist.
The Surgeon Console In use, a surgeon sits at a console ("Surgeon's Console") several feet away from the operating table and manipulates the robot's surgical instruments. The robot has three hands attached to a free-standing cart. One arm holds a camera (endoscope) that has been passed into the patient through small openings. The surgeon operates the other two hands by inserting fingers into rings.
The arms use a technology called EndoWrist--flexible wrists that surgeons can bend and twist like human wrists. The surgeon uses hand movements and foot pedals to control the camera, adjust focus, and reposition the robotic arms. The da Vinci has a three-dimensional lens system, which magnifies the surgical field up to 15 times. Another surgeon stays beside the patient, adjusting the camera and instruments if needed.
There are 89 da Vinci systems placed; 50 in U.S. medical centers, 34 placed in Europe and five placed in Asia.
* Update: as of May 2012 more than 1,840 da Vinci Systems are installed in over 1,450 hospitals worldwide.
* The latest Intuitive Surgical numbers
- 23 Years driving minimally invasive innovation
- 5M+ MIS surgeries completed by 2017
- 43,000+ Da Vinci trained surgeons globally
- 4,400+ Da Vinci systems in hospitals worldwide
The da Vinci robot is commonly used to remove the prostate gland for cancer, repair obstructed kidneys, repair bladder abnormalities and remove diseased kidneys.
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