Intuitive Surgical are the global leader in robotic assisted minimally invasive surgery through the “da Vinci System” as well as the related instruments and accessories.
The da Vinci System comes in several models but essentially there are two units, the surgeons console and the patient-side cart. The former creates 3D imagery of the operating area and allows surgeons to remotely carry out complex procedures like heart valve and cancer surgery through tiny incisions. The later holds the camera and either three or four robotic arms with interchangeable tools to perform the procedure.
The original prototype was developed in the late 1980s at the former Stanford Research Institute under contract to the US Army. While initial work was funded in the interest of developing a system for remotely performing battlefield surgery, commercial applications have proved to be more compelling.
There are currently over 4,500 of these machines in hospitals all over the world, the majority of which are currently based in the US but many are here in the UK. Due to the accuracy of the system, the base level of quality in surgery is on the rise. A frightening thought, but next time you are on the operating table undergoing surgery, you may be the only person in the room.