This time it was a partial nephrectomy, lasting for almost 5 hours. I had a chance to attend the operation, as other people from the lab were there to record the procedure for further research. The surgeon sat in front of the master controller in one corner of the OR, and the assistant surgeon was handling the third trocar, holding tissues, removing waste and providing needles and other equipment. The da Vinci offers high quality 3D visual imaging, but still lacks and haptic feedback. The master surgeon used the robot with an incredible accuracy, though it took two hours to gain access to the patient's left kidney, thoroughly coagulationg all the vessels on the way. They had to remove parts of the kidney, as the tissues died due to the renal stones and sand blocking its circulation. They cut the bottom end of the kidney and cleared the rest of the renal pyramids from the sediments. (Based on the laparoscopic Ultra Sound probe's image.) This part of the procedure is time-critical, as the renal arteries are climped, leaving only 20-25 minutes to finish operation without damaging the healthy tissues. After effectively burning the edge of the new surface, they put biocompatible gauze and regenerating gel around the kidney (video), and cover it with the original fat-husk. The final suturing was performed by the assistant surgeon, to gain additional practice. As soon as the operation was over, the da Vinci was pulled out to another room for the next procedure.
The entire surgery went very smoothly, the surgeon commented the happenings all along, giving a chance to better understand the steps.
Fore more da Vinci operations, visit the official site of Intuitive Surgical Inc. A complete record of a mitral-valve repair operation can be seen here.