Robotic Surgery

Leading-Edge Robotic Surgery at a Community Hospital

Led by a team of highly skilled and experienced surgeons, Winchester Hospital’s robotic surgery program is offering patients Boston-level care and expertise in a comfortable community setting close to home.

Our robotic surgery program was the first for a community hospital in the area, and it has grown to provide state-of-the-art treatment for a wide range of conditions. Since its inception at Winchester Hospital in 2008, our surgeons have performed hundreds of robotic surgery procedures, and continue to expand their skills and offer new options to patients.

What is Robotic Surgery?

Robotic surgery uses a surgical “robot” that is entirely controlled by the surgeon. The robot provides a natural extension of the surgeon’s eyes and hands. The surgeon is in complete control, because the robot cannot act on its own.

The da Vinci Robotic Surgery System assists surgeons in performing complex surgery with more precision than ever before. Surgeons are able to view a magnified operative site in 3-D and use intricate hand, finger, and wrist movements for precise access to otherwise difficult areas of the inner body. As a result, surgeons can now perform complex surgery using incisions that are only 3/8 to 3/4 of an inch in length.

With minimally invasive robotic surgery, patients often go home within 24 hours of surgery, experience less pain, and recover faster. In addition, our outcomes are excellent, and Winchester Hospital has been recognized nationally for the highest quality care.

The goal of robotic surgery is to make procedures more precise, more effective, less invasive, and easier on patients.

Conditions Treated Using Robotic Surgery

At Winchester Hospital, our surgeons perform robotic procedures for a wide variety of conditions.

General surgery:

  • Hernia repair (inguinal and ventral)
  • Hiatal hernias
  • Gall bladder surgery
  • Procedures to treat GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Stomach (gastric) surgery
  • Small intestine surgery
  • Colon surgery
  • Bariatric (weight-loss) surgery

Gynecologic conditions:

  • Hysterectomy for benign conditions such as endometriosis and fibroids
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Uterine (endometrial) cancer
  • Cervical cancer

Urologic conditions:

  • Prostate surgery (robotic prostatectomy)
  • Kidney cancer (robotic partial nephrectomy)
  • Kidney reconstruction (robotic pyeloplasty)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How does robotic surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System work?

    During a robotic surgical procedure, the surgeon sits in the system console a few feet away from the patient. The surgeon looks through the vision system—like a pair of binoculars—inside the patient’s body. The system provides a three-dimensional view of the surgical site with magnification providing the best possible 3-D view. 

    The surgeon moves the handles on the console to control the robot’s arms holding the micro-surgical instruments.  These handles make precise movements easier, allow access to the body through small incision, while maintaining hand-like and wrist-like movement.

    The computerized robotic “hands” mirror the natural motions of a surgeon. After the initial incision, only the robotic hands touch the patient. A registered nurse or another surgeon is always scrubbed in at the patient’s bedside, along with the circulating nurse and scrub technologist.

  • What are the advantages of robotic surgery?

    The robotics system makes it possible for surgeons to perform complex, delicate procedures through small incisions with unmatched precision. It offers:

    • Three-dimensional vision for the surgeon.

    • Enhanced dexterity for the surgeon.

    • The ability to perform minimally invasive procedures rather than traditional open surgeries. Guided by one of our surgeons, the instruments exceed the natural range of motion of the human hand. 

    • Decreased post-operative wound infection.

  • What does minimally invasive mean?

    Minimally invasive surgeries are done through small incisions rather than large incisions that may cut across large areas of tissue. Often special instruments and visualization are needed.

  • What are the benefits of minimally invasive procedures?

    When procedures are performed through small incisions, there is less bleeding, less pain and lower risk of infection, as well as faster recovery times and shorter hospital stays. Patients return more quickly to normal living.

  • How long has robotic surgery been performed?

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the da Vinci Surgical System in 2000, making it the first robotic system allowed inside American operating rooms. Winchester hospital installed the robotic surgery system in 2008.