Dear Doctor: What Should I Know About Robotic Surgery?

Robotic assisted minimally invasive surgery has been increasing in popularity over the last decade. It initially gained popularity amongst urologists for removal of the prostate and with gynecologists for hysterectomies. Over the recent years, it has been increasingly utilized in general and gastrointestinal surgery for a variety of procedures, including removal of the gallbladder, repair of hiatal/diaphragmatic hernias and surgery for heartburn and achalasia, weight loss surgery (sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass), resections of the stomach, surgery of the spleen, adrenal glands, pancreas and liver, hernia surgery as well as in colon and rectal surgery. In addition, single incision surgery can be performed using robotic surgery.

Advantages of robotic surgery include precision, superior visualization, degrees of movement greater than that of the human wrist, and the ability to perform technically complicated operations through very small incisions. The robotic platform is a seamless extension of the surgeon’s hands and fingers. The surgeon is always in control and directs the movement of the robotic arms at each stage of the operation.

When considering robotic assisted surgery, it is important to ensure that your surgeon has undergone extensive training and is experienced with robotic surgery. This can be accomplished through fellowship training or completing an industry approved training program, which includes performing cases under the direction of an experienced robotic surgeon. The robotic surgery platform does not replace meticulous surgical technique or judgment.

Dr. Peter Walker is a fellowship trained minimally invasive and robotic surgeon for the UT Health Science Center at Houston and provides patient care at UT Physicians at several locations in Katy including, Cinco Ranch located at 23923 Cinco Ranch Blvd., Katy, TX 77494. To schedule an appointment, please call 713-892-5500.