Robotic surgery involves using a computer that remotely controls very small instruments attached to a robot. This procedure is done under general anaesthetic. Instruments are inserted through small cuts in the body, such as in the abdomen, and are attached to the robot’s arms. The surgeon directs the movements of the robot from a nearby computer station. The robot matches the surgeon’s hand movements to perform the procedure. An endoscope (a thin tube with a camera attached) allows the surgeon to view highly magnified three-dimensional images of the required site. This surgery is similar to laparoscopic (‘keyhole’) or endoscopic surgery, but the movements possible are smaller and more precise. Robotic instruments can also access hard to reach areas of the body more easily through smaller incisions compared to traditional open and laparoscopic surgery. Robotic surgery may be used for a range of procedures, such as: coronary artery bypass and mitral valve repair; and removal of the kidney, gallbladder or uterus.
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