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These days many doctors have a new addition and it's a robot like this that is used during surgery.

This robot at Rush Hospital is actually called the da Vinci Surgical System. Urologist, Dr. Mark Phillips says he uses it for a number of surgeries involving the kidney or early stage cancer, such as that of the prostate.

"The instruments are actually doing the surgery but they're connected to my hands as if my hand were actually inside the patient," says Dr. Phillips.

During the surgery Dr. Phillips sits at this nearby station and controls the robot which has four surgical arms, one which mounts a very small camera and the others which have graspers attached that are used during surgery.

"This will move when my hand moves. I've got 360 degrees. I can move all. I can adjust here. 3 D image. It's just like if I was inside a little micro man in here."

Dr. Phillips goes on to say that the fact that the instruments inserted during surgery are so small, makes a big difference. To get an idea of how much of a difference this makes he says just compare the size of the graspers, to the size of a hand. He says this alone tells the story.

"We use three or four incisions about an inch long compared to incisions that were like this."

It's the smaller incisions that are being credited for the reduction in the loss of blood during surgery. For example in the past during a surgery for prostate cancer, Dr. Phillips says a patient might lose as much blood as this large container could hold, now on average patient only lose about this much, which is the size of a basic cup.

"Recovery time, hopefully complications rates, back to work time, this is all much better."

Cutting recovery times in half and with about a 90-percent success rate, Dr. Phillips says robotic surgery is likely here to stay.

"20 years from now I'll bet 90% of our surgeries will be done using robots."


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