Robotic (Da Vinci®) Minimally Invasive Surgery:

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Robotic (Da Vinci®) Minimally Invasive Surgery:

The University of Virginia Health System provides minimally invasive surgical services for infants, children and adolescents using the da Vinci robot-assisted surgical system. The robot-assisted system is particularly well suited for complex intra-abdominal procedures and reconstructive urological surgery. The majority of the robot's use in children is in the field of urology.

Our pediatric urologists are recognized leaders in the field of urology and robotic-assisted minimally invasive urologic surgery. The da Vinci system has been used in infants as young as 3-4 months of age. Robotic-assisted surgery holds tremendous potential for a multitude of urologic conditions. Some of the conditions currently treated with robotic-assisted surgery include:

  • Urinary tract obstruction
  • Vesicoureteral reflux
  • Urinary and bowel incontinence from neurological conditions
  • Complex kidney stones

The da Vinci robotic system helps surgeons perform complex procedures, usually through three small incisions. Our patients benefit from this type of surgery over the traditional surgical approaches for a number of reasons which include:

  • Less pain
  • Less scarring
  • Shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery time (children are often back to their normal activity levels within a week)

The robotic-assisted surgical approach allows the surgeon to operate with three interactive robotic arms while sitting nearby at a console.  The surgeon controls the movements of the robotic arms by manipulating small controls at the console.  The robotic system can operate in a very small area with more precision and greater range of motion that a surgeons wrist or traditional laparoscopic instruments. One of the robot's arms holds a camera that is lowered into the operating space through a small incision. This allows the surgeon to view the operative field in high definition 3D images that are magnified 10 times. Visualization is fantastic and the surgeon can thus operate on even small structures more clearly than in open surgery.