Here's a view of what I see through the working lens of the robotic console where I sit to control the robot during colorectal surgery. I am still so blown away by this technology and how how it has changed what we do for patients. Here is how it all began...... Robots are relatively new to colorectal surgery.
The history of robotic surgery starts in 1985 with the PUMA 560, used to perform a brain biopsy using CT guidance.
In 1988 the first prostate surgery was performed with the PROBOT in London - robotic transurethral prostate surgery.
In the late 1980s NASA and the US army were interested in the development of telesurgery , to bring the surgeon to the battlefield, with the hope to decrease mortality of trauma. A system was produced where a wounded soldier could be operated on remotely by a surgeon. The system was tested on animals but never applied in the battlefield.
The DaVinci robot was first used clinically in 1988 in Germany to perform the first coronary artery bypass graft (heart surgery). It took many years until the robot was used in colorectal surgery: in 2005 the first robotic colectomies were reported in Germany. As more evidence and interest developed in better surgical resection of rectal tumors - the robot became a useful instrument helping surgeons access the rectum and perform a more precise operation - the concept of robotic TME was born.
As the DaVinci robot becomes increasingly popular, it's benefits over open and even laparoscopic surgery are becoming clearer. These include more precise and complete surgery, ability to work in narrow places like the pelvis, and potentially improve cancer outcomes. The surgeon is engaged and in control of the entire case through this viewing port and remote control that allows full control of the robot at all times. The robot does not have a mind of its own!