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Comparing Robotic vs Traditional Laparoscopy – Dr. Tsuda’s Perspective

October 4, 2019

I began performing robotic-assisted surgical procedures about six years ago. I was initially very skeptical of the robot. Since I was fellowship-trained in minimally invasive surgery, which at that time was primarily laparoscopic surgery, I was very confident in my skill set and the advantages that laparoscopy offered the patient. Laparoscopy is the use of small instruments, through small incisions, in performing operations that would otherwise require a large incision to access the patient’s abdomen. We found, first through procedures such as gallbladder removal, that the small incisions provided less pain, quicker recovery, better cosmetics, and fewer complications that traditional open surgery. It does require certain skills, however, since using long, thin instruments takes away the tactile feel of the surgeon’s hands, forces us to look at a two-dimensional screen instead of directly at organs and tissue, and requires quite a bit of manual dexterity. I worked at it, however, and became confident; even winning a fun type of competition at one of our national surgical meetings that pitted surgeons against each other in a laparoscopic simulator. So, when robotic surgery started to be introduced to us, the idea of adding expensive, bulky, and technical equipment that was touted to […]