Robotic-Assisted Surgery with the Da Vinci System 

Think of pediatric surgery and most of us imagine a surgeon maneuvering instruments through a large incision in a child’s body.

At CHKD, a less invasive way is on the rise: Inserting robotic instruments through much smaller incisions to perform surgery.

CHKD recently began using the da Vinci surgical system, a robotic-assisted minimally invasive system that was pioneered in 1995, and is now used by more than 60,000 surgeons around the world who have performed more than 10 million surgical procedures.

What are the advantages?

The advantage of a da Vinci system surgery is the procedure usually takes less time with fewer narcotics, both important factors when kids require surgery. And because the incisions are smaller, recovery time is generally shorter.

How does it work?

The surgeon is in the operating room, seated at the da Vinci system console, through which the surgeon controls tiny instruments that move like human hands but with a better range of motion and higher precision. A 3D high definition camera is also part of the system. Mounted on an endoscope, it magnifies up to 10 times what the human eye can see.

Some people assume that the da Vinci system is fully robotic, but it’s actually an extension of the surgeons’ hands. They control every move using natural wrist and finger motions.  

What types of procedures can be performed this way?

While the da Vinci system can be used for many different types of surgery, at CHKD, it is most often used by our pediatric urologists and general pediatric surgeons for surgeries of the abdomen or chest.