Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: The Da Vinci Code


BACKGROUND: Our goal was to analyze reported instances of the da Vinci robotic surgical system instrument failures using the FDA’s MAUDE (Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience) database. From these data we identified some root causes of failures as well as trends that may assist surgeons and users of the robotic technology. METHODS: We conducted a survey of the MAUDE database and tallied robotic instrument failures that occurred between January 2009 and December 2010. We categorized failures into five main groups (cautery, shaft, wrist or tool tip, cable, and control housing) based on technical differences in instrument design and function. RESULTS: A total of 565 instrument failures were documented through 528 reports. The majority of failures (285) were of the instrument’s wrist or tool tip. Cautery problems comprised 174 failures, 76 were shaft failures, 29 were cable failures, and 7 were control housing failures. Of the reports, 10 had no discernible failure mode and 49 exhibited multiple failures. CONCLUSIONS: The data show that a number of robotic instrument failures occurred in a short period of time. In reality, many instrument failures may go unreported, thus a true failure rate cannot be determined from these data. However, education of hospital administrators, operating room staff, surgeons, and patients should be incorporated into discussions regarding the introduction and utilization of robotic technology. We recommend institutions incorporate standard failure reporting policies so that the community of robotic surgery companies and surgeons can improve on existing technologies for optimal patient safety and outcomes.

Concepts: Hospital, Surgery, Report, Failure, Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi, Robotic surgery, The Da Vinci Code, Da Vinci Surgical System


BACKGROUND: The da Vinci robotic surgical telemanipulator has been utilized in several surgical specialties for varied procedures, and the users' experiences have been widely published. To date, no detailed system technical analyses have been performed. METHODS: A detailed review was performed of all publications and patents about the technical aspects of the da Vinci robotic system. RESULTS: Published technical literature on the da Vinci system highlight strengths and weaknesses of the robot design. While the system facilitates complex surgical operations and has a low malfunction rate, the lack of haptic (especially tactile) feedback and collisions between the robotic arms remain the major limitations of the system. Accurate, preplanned positioning of access ports is essential. CONCLUSION: Knowledge of the technical aspects of the da Vinci robot is important for optimal use. We confirmed the excellent system functionality and ease of use for surgeons without an engineering background. Research and development of the surgical robot has been predominant in the literature. Future trends address robot miniaturization and intelligent control design. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Concepts: Surgery, Physician, Academic publishing, Control theory, Robotic surgery, The Da Vinci Code, Da Vinci Surgical System, Intuitive Surgical


BACKGROUND: While single-port laparoscopy for abdominal surgery is technically challenging, the Da Vinci Single-Site® robotic surgery platform may help to overcome some of the difficulties of this rapidly evolving technique. The authors of this article present a case of single-incision, robotic right colectomy using this device. METHODS: A 74-year-old female with malignant polyp of caecum was operated on with a single-site approach using the Da Vinci Single-Site® robotic surgery device. Resection and anastomosis were performed extra-corporeally after undocking the robot. RESULTS: The procedure was successfully completed in 200 min. No surgical complications occurred during the intervention and the post-operative stay and no conversion to laparotomy or additional trocars were required. CONCLUSIONS: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case of right colectomy using the Da Vinci Single-Site® robotic surgery platform to be reported. The procedure is feasible and safe and its main advantages are restoration of triangulation and reduced instrument clashes. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Concepts: Surgery, John Wiley & Sons, Laparoscopic surgery, Greatest hits, Laparotomy, Robotic surgery, The Da Vinci Code, Leonardo da Vinci


Background Minimally invasive techniques in spine surgery have gained significant popularity due to decreased tissue dissection and destruction, postoperative pain, and hospital stay. The laparoscopic anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF), an innovation in minimally invasive spine surgery, is rarely done because it has marginal benefit over the mini-open ALIF technique in rates of retrograde ejaculation and vascular complications. We propose these outcomes can be improved with enhanced robotic-assisted dissection and exposure for ALIF. Patients Two patients with single-level degenerative spine disease at L5-S1, associated with mechanical back pain, underwent anterior spinal exposure using the da Vinci S Surgical Robot during ALIF. Results In this report, we provide the first description of the use of a surgical robot in the dissection and exposure for ALIF in patients with degenerative spine disease. We demonstrate successful use of the da Vinci Surgical Robot in separating the presacral nervous plexus from retroperitoneal structures without postoperative vascular or urological complications over a 1-year follow-up period. Conclusion Use of the robotic assistance in the performance of ALIF is possible without significant operative complications. This technique may provide added benefit over conventional laparoscopic approaches to the spine.

Concepts: Hospital, Surgery, Minimally invasive, Degenerative disc disease, Orgasm, Robotic surgery, The Da Vinci Code, Da Vinci Surgical System



This paper reviews both commercial and academic results on creating fully mechanical (i.e. non-robotic) laparoscopic devices that provide wrists or wrist-like dexterity within the patient. Many of these devices aim to provide dexterity conceptually similar to the EndoWrist instruments of the da Vinci surgical robot, but without requiring computers and motors. The motivation is to provide high-dexterity instruments at a lower cost than current surgical robots offer. In this paper we review the state of the art in the development of these mechanical instruments, focusing on the surgeon interface, wrist mechanism, and the kinematic mapping between the two.

Concepts: Hospital, Surgery, Physician, Robotic surgery, The Da Vinci Code, Da Vinci Surgical System, Surgical robots


The integrity of the medical literature about robotic surgery remains unclear despite wide-spread adoption. We sought to determine if payment from Intuitive Surgical Incorporated (ISI) affected quality of the research produced by surgeons.

Concepts: Medicine, Surgery, Physician, Robotic surgery, The Da Vinci Code, Da Vinci Surgical System, Intuitive Surgical, Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister


Progress in improving animal welfare is currently limited by the lack of objective methods for assessing lifetime experience. I propose that telomere attrition, a cellular biomarker of biological age, provides a molecular measure of cumulative experience that could be used to assess the welfare impact of husbandry regimes and/or experimental procedures on non-human animals. I review evidence from humans that telomere attrition is accelerated by negative experiences in a cumulative and dose-dependent manner, but that this attrition can be mitigated or even reversed by positive life-style interventions. Evidence from non-human animals suggests that despite some specific differences in telomere biology, stress-induced telomere attrition is a robust phenomenon, occurring in a range of species including mice and chickens. I conclude that telomere attrition apparently integrates positive and negative experience in an accessible common currency that translates readily to novel species - the Holy Grail of a cumulative welfare indicator.

Concepts: Biology, Species, The Da Vinci Code, Holy Grail


The goal of this cadaver study was to evaluate the feasibility and safety of da Vinci robot-assisted keyhole neurosurgery. Several keyhole craniotomies were fashioned including supraorbital subfrontal, retrosigmoid and supracerebellar infratentorial. In each case, a simple durotomy was performed, and the flap was retracted. The da Vinci surgical system was then used to perform arachnoid dissection towards the deep-seated intracranial cisterns. It was not possible to simultaneously pass the 12-mm endoscope and instruments through the keyhole craniotomy in any of the approaches performed, limiting visualization. The articulated instruments provided greater dexterity than existing tools, but the instrument arms could not be placed in parallel through the keyhole craniotomy and, therefore, could not be advanced to the deep cisterns without significant clashing. The da Vinci console offered considerable ergonomic advantages over the existing operating room arrangement, allowing the operating surgeon to remain non-sterile and seated comfortably throughout the procedure. However, the lack of haptic feedback was a notable limitation. In conclusion, while robotic platforms have the potential to greatly enhance the performance of transcranial approaches, there is strong justification for research into next-generation robots, better suited to keyhole neurosurgery.

Concepts: Surgery, Performance, Robotics, The Da Vinci Code, Da Vinci Surgical System, Leonardo da Vinci, Haptic technology


This study explored the rather rapid adoption of a new surgical device - the da Vinci robot - in the Netherlands despite the high costs and its controversial clinical benefits. We used the concept ‘affordances’ as a conceptual-analytic tool to refer to the perceived promises, symbolic meanings, and utility values of an innovation constructed in the wider social context of use. This concept helps us empirically understand robot adoption. Data from 28 in-depth interviews with diverse purposively-sampled stakeholders, and from medical literature, policy documents, Health Technology Assessment reports, congress websites and patients' weblogs/forums between April 2009 and February 2014 were systematically analysed from the perspective of affordances. We distinguished five interrelated affordances of the robot that accounted for shaping and fulfilling its rapid adoption: ‘characteristics-related’ affordances such as smart nomenclature and novelty, symbolising high-tech clinical excellence; ‘research-related’ affordances offering medical-technical scientific excellence; ‘entrepreneurship-related’ affordances for performing better-than-the-competition; ‘policy-related’ affordances indicating the robot’s liberalised provision and its reduced financial risks; and ‘communication-related’ affordances of the robot in shaping patients' choices and the public’s expectations by resonating promising discourses while pushing uncertainties into the background. These affordances make the take-up and use of the da Vinci robot sound perfectly rational and inevitable. This Dutch case study demonstrates the fruitfulness of the affordances approach to empirically capturing the contextual dynamics of technology adoption in health care: exploring in-depth actors' interaction with the technology while considering the interpretative spaces created in situations of use. This approach can best elicit real-life value of innovations, values as defined through the eyes of (potential) users.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Surgery, Economics, Netherlands, Technology, Innovation, The Da Vinci Code