How it Works

When we think of robots, we tend to picture something human-looking, with a head, body, arms and legs. We also tend to imagine a machine that operates independently.

The daVinci robot is all arms, and every move it makes is controlled by a trained, experienced surgeon.


The robotic arms of the daVinci system are attached to a base unit at one end. Various tools can be attached on the other end of these arms, including:

  • Endoscopic cameras for viewing inside the body
  • Sharp, scissor-like instruments for cutting
  • Sophisticated sewing tools that resemble tiny pliers
  • Laser tools and miniature scalpels

All these tools fit through tiny incisions made in a patient's body. The robot’s base is wired to the surgeon's nearby computer console.

Once a patient is fully prepped in the operating room — with small incisions made, and robotic instruments in place — the surgeon moves to the console.

At the console:

  • The surgeon's hands move the controllers, which manipulate the instruments inside the patient’s body.
  • The instruments are "wristed" to capture a greater range of motion than the human wrist.
  • The surgeon makes a precise cutting or sewing motion.
  • The computer software translates these movements to allow the instruments to do exactly the same thing inside the patient's body — without any potential hand tremor.

This approach means surgeons can perform delicate, complex operations without the trauma of large incisions, which is a tremendous benefit for patients.

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