A Robotic Cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure that is assisted by a robotic machine in order to remove the gallbladder.
What is it?
A robotic cholecystectomy is a minimally invasive, robot-assisted surgery that removes the gallbladder. Cholecystectomies are performed to treat gallstones and their complications such as when gallstones cause pain or block bile movement. A robotic cholecystectomy differs from a traditional cholecystectomy in that it uses an advanced robotic system controlled by the surgeon that results in less tissue trauma, smaller incisions, and improved visualization and surgical ability. The robotic system has arms with surgical instruments that are controlled by the surgeon in order to create more precise, controlled movements. Typically, patients experience less pain, faster recovery, less bleeding, minimal scarring, and shorter hospital stays with robotic versus traditional cholecystectomies. Robotic cholecystectomies are the latest advancement in cholecystectomy procedures with many patients opting for it over the traditional route.
How to Prepare
If a patient is having a robotic cholecystectomy, the patient should stop taking blood thinners, aspirin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for one week prior to the surgery. These medications can increase the risk of bleeding during the surgery, which can be a major complication. Patients should check with their physicians before ceasing medications because other medical problems may determine whether or not they should be stopped. The patient should discuss his or her current medications with the doctor in order to determine additional measures. A laxative solution will likely be ordered by the doctor in order to clear the intestines and bowels at home prior to the surgery. No food or drink should be taken starting from the midnight prior to the surgery in order to reduce the risk of aspiration, a rare but serious risk that occurs when the stomach’s contents enter the lungs during general anesthesia.
What happens during the procedure?
During a robotic cholecystectomy, the patient is given general anesthesia, which are anesthetic drugs that put the patient to sleep for the duration of the procedure. After anesthesia is administered, the surgeon conducts the procedure entirely behind the robotic console. The surgeon controls the robotic arms and instruments while visualizing the surgery in high definition and real time on the screen that is part of the robotic machine. The video is projected from a small surgical camera that is inserted into one of the small incisions. The surgeon uses the robot to make small incisions through which the instruments are inserted and the gallbladder is excised and removed through the same incision.
Risks and Complications
Risks of the surgery include bleeding, infection, damage to the surrounding organs and tissues, blood clots, bile leak, pneumonia, and cardiac problems. There are also risks associated with general anesthesia such as aspiration.
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