How Does Robotic Surgery Differ From Laparoscopic Surgery?

Has your MedStar surgeon offered you a choice between robotic surgery and laparoscopic surgery? If so, you may wonder what the difference is between the two. No matter what type of surgery you choose, you can rest assured that you are in the hands of the most experienced and skilled doctors at MedStar Franklin Square.

Most patients and physicians would agree that minimally invasive surgery is preferred over traditional open surgery techniques. However, sometimes patients at MedStar Franklin Square have the choice between two minimally invasive surgery techniques: robotic surgery and laparoscopic surgery. Only you and your MedStar doctor can decide which surgery is right for you.

Laparoscopic Surgery

In a traditional open surgery approach, your MedStar surgeon uses a large incision to perform the surgery. In laparoscopic surgery, your surgeon makes several small incisions into which he or she inserts small surgical tools and a camera. The camera allows your surgeon to see inside your body to perform the surgery.

All minimally invasive surgery techniques have similar benefits, such as less blood loss, reduced pain, smaller scars, shorter stay in the hospital and faster recovery times. However, there are some limitations to laparoscopic surgery such as 2D images and tools that offer a limited range of motion, which can make it difficult for your surgeon to work in small spaces.

Robotic Surgery

Robotic surgery is similar to laparoscopic surgery in the respect that they both use small incisions, a camera and surgical instruments. However, instead of holding and manipulating the surgical instruments his or herself, during robotic surgery, your MedStar Surgeon will sit at a computer console and use controls to manipulate the robot. The console provides your surgeon with high-definition, magnified 3D images, which allow for increased accuracy and vision inside your body. Compared to traditional surgery, robotic surgery provides your surgeon with a greater range of motion and precision, which may lead to less bleeding and post-operative pain.

They are both minimally invasive procedures that provide you with the most precise surgery and the shortest recovery, but a few key differences exist:

 

Robotic Surgery

Laparoscopic Surgery

Incision Tiny incisions Tiny incisions
Surgical instruments
  • Camera
  • Small instrument
  • Surgeon's console
  • Endowrist instruments
  • Camera
  • Small instrument
Where your surgeon stands At the console Next to you
How surgery is performed Surgeon directs the robot's movements from the console; the robotic instruments in your body respond in real-time Surgeon operates using the instruments previously inserted in the incisions
Level of dexterity Highest possible; robotic instruments can rotate a full 360 degrees and are more flexible than a human hand or wrist Limited range of motion compared to robotic
Ability to access hard-to-reach places Incomparable; the robot has the dexterity to reach previously inaccessible areas of the body Greater compared to traditional open surgery due to smaller instruments; less than compared to robotic surgery
Recovery time Shorter compared to traditional surgery Shorter compared to traditional surgery
Risk of infection and blood loss Rare Rare

Learn more about robotic surgery at MedStar Franklin Square:

Location Information

For a physician referral, please call 443-777-7900.

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
9000 Franklin Square Drive
Baltimore, MD 21237

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