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Robotic surgery is a minimally invasive technique similar to a laparoscopy -- a tiny camera is placed through a needle-sized hole in a person’s body to obtain clear pictures, and probes are used to carry out the operation. The difference is that instead of directly grasping the probes, the doctor sits at a console with a three-dimensional view inside the person and manipulates robotic arms that hold the probes. The robotic arms act like human wrists, giving the doctor greater flexibility as he or she manipulates the tiny surgical tools inside the body. A system filters hand tremor and amplifies the video image in 3-D to facilitate more precise movements.
The robot is particularly useful for operations that require the doctor to work in a small space within the body or when he or she must perform suturing that requires fine motor control. Robotic surgery is being used for a wide variety of surgical areas -- urology, cardiothoracic, noncardiac thoracic, gynecology and general surgery among them.