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What Is Robotic Surgery?

How It Works

Robotic surgery at Virginia Hospital Center is performed using the da Vinci XI® surgical robot. This advanced technology doesn’t replace surgeons, but rather arms them with a pair of robotic hands that are capable of doing things bare human hands can’t do. Does this mean the robot is calling the shots? No. The robot is not thinking or acting independently; it simply replicates the specific movements of the surgeon.

Here’s how it works. Using high-powered magnification and 3-D imaging, the surgeon watches a console and makes delicate hand movements, which are then mimicked by the robotic arms inside the body. Long instrument shafts are designed to give surgeons greater reach during the operation. The instruments rotate 360 degrees, enabling the surgeon to get around turns that human hands cannot manage. While the surgeon remains completely in control, the robotic hands execute each manual gesture with unprecedented precision and accuracy.

Mastery of this technology requires highly advanced training and expertise on the part of the surgical team. With the da Vinci Xi, the surgeon performs an entire, complex operation through very small incisions, reaching organs and structures from angles that are not possible with hand-held instrumentation.

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As part of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, Virginia Hospital Center brings the world-renowned expertise and knowledge of Mayo Clinic to our community. How can I access the expertise of Mayo Clinic? It’s simple – all you need is to be under the care of a physician on Virginia Hospital’s Center medical Staff. 

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