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Potential applications of the da Vinci minimally invasive surgical robotic system in otolaryngology

| Reprints
August 1, 2005
by Ian K. McLeod, MD; Eric A. Mair, MD; Patrick C. Melder, MD
Anatomic constraints and instrumentation design characteristics have limited the exploitation of endoscopic surgery in otolaryngology. The move toward less invasive and less morbid procedures has paved the way for the development and application of robotic and computer-assisted systems in surgery. Surgical robotics allows for the use of new instrumentation in our field. We review the operative advantages, limitations, and possible surgical applications of the da Vinci Surgical System in otolaryngology. In the laboratory setting, we explored the setup and use of the da Vinci system in porcine and cadaveric head and neck airway models; the setup was configured for optimal airway surgery. Endoscopic cautery, manipulation, and suturing of supraglottic tissues were performed in both the porcine and cadaveric models. We found that the da Vinci system provided the advantages of the lower morbidity associated with endoscopic surgery, more freedom of movement, and three-dimensional open surgical viewing. We also observed that the system has several limitations to use in otolaryngology.

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