Robot heads to heart surgery

October 20, 2006

The University of Maryland Medical Center recently acquired a robot that will enable surgeons to perform multiple-vessel heart bypass surgery using minimally invasive, beating-heart techniques.

The da Vinci S Surgical System, which has been used in prostate cancer surgery, has robotic arms controlled by surgeons using a computer console in the operating room. Three dime-sized incisions are made for the instruments and a high-resolution camera.

Patients are able to go home within a few days and recover more quickly than with traditional open-heart surgery, which often requires six or seven days in the hospital.

The center is the first hospital in the Maryland, Delaware, Washington and Northern Virginia area to perform the procedure with robotic assistance.

Above, Dr. James F. Borin, director of robotic surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, demonstrates how the robot works during a news conference.

Left, the robot's arm manipulates a dime, mimicing the technique needed for suturing.

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