da Vinci Robotic Surgery: Risks & Complications

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A lot has been discussed about the advantages and limitations of da Vinci robotic surgery and the possibilities that it has of giving a great back up to the laparoscopic processes.  A topic of debate and discussion that often comes up in relation with robotics surgery is whether it can withstand the test of time and give hundred percent risk free surgeries. According to all surgeons, the heavily automated approach has a ninety percent success rate, while there still is a ten percent chance of falling to risk factors.

What happens when risk factors take over from a stable surgery? What are the main risks involved in going for a robotic surgery? Are there any chances of complications arising during or after a robotic surgery? What are the known ways of remedy in cases of such complications?

The present article strives to answer most of these questions.

Risk Factors In da Vinci Robotic Surgery

Not many would like to hear this, but in spite of the huge promise that robotic surgeries have for the future of laparoscopy, there are a couple of risk factors, which a surgeon and a patient have to keep in mind while signing up for one. The following are the main risks recorded in da Vinci robotic system.

  • Excessive Bleeding

Different patients have different phenotypes and some are prone to excessive bleeding even if tissue damage is minimal. Excessive bleeding while surgery might also result from excessive dosage of blood dilators or injury at sensitive areas that result in bursting of blood vessels. The situation is extremely difficult to handle in any da Vinci system robotic surgery as there are only three arms to manipulate and clean the operating area and resume the surgery.

In normal laparoscopic surgery the counter measures for excessive bleeding can be taken swiftly by accompanying surgeons. The same is not possible in robotic laparoscopy procedures and requires manual cleaning at the site of incision and skillful operations of laparoscopic instruments in such cases. Negligence or slow action can lead to excessive blood loss leading to complications in the patient.

  • Technical Snag

Da Vinci robot operates with four arms that move according to the inputs from the surgeon who is seated at the console. Any technical snag at any stage of the process can be hard to correct, especially if the arm is within the patient’s body and is unable to be retrieved due to the snag. The team of surgeons must be ready with counter measures to dislodge the robotic arms immediately and move the patient’s body to safety.

In addition to the two most probable risks in robotic laparoscopy as mentioned above, there could also be secondary issues like visual blurring of images and camera malfunction during the operation. A complete understanding of how these complications can be sorted out and countered is required before making robotic surgeries more common in hospitals. There are also reports of surgeries which have led to complications that were required to be solved using an open surgery on a later date.

There is a dire need to understand risk factors and complications that might lead to trouble on the surgery table. Robotic surgeries although automated do not have solutions to a few problems and that contribute greatly towards the risk factor involved in going for robotic surgeries.

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