Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why is the company called Intuitive Surgical?
A. The Company is called Intuitive Surgical because its technologies allow surgeons to operate intuitively with the same direct approach as open surgery, but through small incisions (laparoscopically). Unlike with traditional laparoscopy, when a da Vinci surgeon moves the hand controls at the surgeon console clockwise, the tiny wristed instruments inside the patient also move clockwise. With the da Vinci System, left means left and right means right, similar to the maneuvers of open surgery.
A. Minimally invasive surgery, also called laparoscopy or laparoscopic surgery, is used on patients diagnosed with many different conditions. During minimally invasive surgery, surgeons operate through one or more small incisions, depending on the type of surgery. The da Vinci® Surgical System is a form of laparoscopic surgery that enables surgeons to operate using a 3D HD vision system and tiny instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human hand. As a result of this technology, da Vinci enables surgeons to operate with enhanced vision, precision and control.
A. The product is called "da Vinci" in part because Leonardo da Vinci is credited with inventing the first robot. da Vinci used unparalleled anatomical accuracy and three-dimensional details to bring his masterpieces to life. The da Vinci Surgical System similarly provides surgeons with enhanced detail and precision. The System can mimic open surgery while allowing doctors to perform complex procedures through a few small incisions.
A. The da Vinci Surgical System enables surgeons to operate minimally invasively through a few small incisions or the belly button, similar to traditional laparoscopy. Using the da Vinci System, surgeons sit at a nearby ergonomic console. da Vinci features a magnified 3D HD vision system and tiny wristed instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human hand. As a result of this technology, da Vinci enables surgeons to operate with enhanced vision, precision and control. Learn more about da Vinci Surgery.
A. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the da Vinci Surgical System for use in a wide range of procedures. For additional information, please see Indications for Use.
A. da Vinci surgical procedures are routinely performed in the specialties of: general, urologic, gynecologic, transoral, cardiac, thoracic, and pediatric surgery. da Vinci® Single-Site™ technology enables surgeons to remove the gallbladder and uterus through one small incision in the belly button. Over the last decade, the da Vinci System has brought minimally invasive surgery to over 2 million patients worldwide.
A. Since 1998, more than 7,000 peer-reviewed publications have appeared in various clinical journals on da Vinci Surgery. The amount of clinical evidence on the da Vinci System is increasing at a rate of 100 publications per month.
A: The da Vinci Surgical System is used in major centers in the United States, France, Italy, Germany and Spain, as well as in many other countries around the world. To locate a hospital or surgeon, go to: http://www.davincisurgeonlocator.com/
A. On the contrary, the da Vinci System is designed to enable surgeons to operate with enhanced vision, precision and control. The da Vinci System translates the surgeon's hand movements into smaller, precise movements of the miniaturized instruments inside the patient's body. The da Vinci System is 100% controlled by the surgeon and can never be programmed to make surgical maneuvers on its own.
Q. While using the da Vinci Surgical System, can the surgeon feel anything inside the patient's chest or abdomen?
A. Motors on the system move the robotic arms and instruments in response to the surgeon’s hand movements on the controls. As a result, the surgeon receives or feels subtle physical “feedback” while holding the controls. This feedback provides a substitute for the actual sense of touch and is augmented by the enhanced vision provided by the high definition 3D view. While surgeons are not able to touch or feel the anatomy as in open surgery, they indicate that the visualization, precision, dexterity and control that da Vinci offers them during surgery more than compensates for the loss of touch.
A. No. Although seated at a console a few feet from the patient, the surgeon views an actual image inside the patient’s body while operating in real-time. At no time does the surgeon see a virtual image, or program the system to perform any independent maneuvers outside of the surgeon's direct, real-time control.
A. Robotic surgical devices are designed to perform entirely independent movements after being programmed by a surgeon. The da Vinci Surgical System is a computer-enhanced system that introduces a computer interface and 3D HD vision system between the surgeon's eyes, hands and the tips of micro-instruments. The system mimics the surgeon's hand movements in real time. It cannot be programmed, nor can it make decisions on its own to move or perform any type of surgical maneuver. So, while the general term "robotic surgery" is often used to refer to our technology, it is not robotic surgery in the strictest sense of the term.
A. No. The da Vinci Surgical System could theoretically be used to operate over long distances. This capability, however, is not the primary focus of the company and is not available with current da Vinci Surgical Systems
A. Our robotic surgical platforms currently allow surgeons to perform complex procedures using a minimally invasive approach.
In the interest of improving the surgeon training experience and expanding training programs, we are exploring telesurgery as a way to provide more convenient or expedient surgeon-to-surgeon proctoring and coaching. We see telesurgery as a means to allow surgeons to learn and optimize their robotic-assisted surgery skills under the guidance of leading specialists – with less disruption to clinical schedules due to travel — and therefore less impact on patients.
A. Intuitive has an extensive patent portfolio of internally developed technology, as well as a variety of patents acquired or exclusively licensed from leaders in surgical robotics.
Q: Why isn't Intuitive Surgical getting involved in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Defense Sciences project to develop robotic technology for use on the battlefield?
A: The DARPA project was, in fact, the project that inspired the creation of the first da Vinci System, and Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci Surgical System could theoretically be used to operate over long distances. However, optimizing the da Vinci System for remote or telesurgery applications is not the primary focus of the company's product design and development efforts, and this capability is not available with the current da Vinci Surgical System. Intuitive Surgical is optimizing its products for applications in minimally invasive surgery today.
A: Intuitive's principal corporate offices are located in Sunnyvale, California, United States, which is in Silicon Valley, near San Jose.
A: We currently market our system in the United States through a direct sales organization to hospitals. We have European operations headquartered in Aubonne, Switzerland and Asia-Pacific operations headquartered in Shanghai, China. We sell directly in some European countries and in Korea, and we use distributors and agents throughout the rest of the world.
A: The average selling price of the da Vinci System varies according to model, features, service contract, etc. Please see our investor presentation for more details.
Serious complications may occur in any surgery, including da Vinci® Surgery, up to and including death. Examples of serious or life-threatening complications, which may require prolonged and/or unexpected hospitalization and/or reoperation, include but are not limited to, one or more of the following: injury to tissues/organs, bleeding, infection and internal scarring that can cause long-lasting dysfunction/pain. Risks of surgery also include the potential for equipment failure and/or human error. Individual surgical results may vary.
Risks specific to minimally invasive surgery, including da Vinci Surgery, include but are not limited to, one or more of the following: temporary pain/nerve injury associated with positioning; temporary pain/discomfort from the use of air or gas in the procedure; a longer operation and time under anesthesia and conversion to another surgical technique. If your doctor needs to convert the surgery to another surgical technique, this could result in a longer operative time, additional time under anesthesia, additional or larger incisions and/or increased complications.
Patients who are not candidates for non-robotic minimally invasive surgery are also not candidates for da Vinci® Surgery. Patients should talk to their doctor to decide if da Vinci Surgery is right for them. Patients and doctors should review all available information on non-surgical and surgical options in order to make an informed decision. For Important Safety Information, including surgical risks, indications, and considerations and contraindications for use, please also refer to http://www.intuitivesurgical.com/safety. Unless otherwise noted, all people depicted are models.
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