FORT BELVOIR COMMUNITY HOSPITAL, Va. (May 14, 2012) -- In celebration of National Women's Health Week, staff and patients are invited to "Meet the Robots" May 31 and explore the latest advances in women's health.

The two DaVinci machines are designed to aid in complex surgeries -- typically gynecological -- using a minimally invasive approach.

Women make up about 14 percent of the Army active duty fighting force and the health of female Soldiers plays a vital role in overall Army readiness.

This surgical platform is made up of three parts: a tower that powers the robot; a console the surgeon sits at with a viewfinder projecting a 3D, high definition image of the procedure; and the robot the surgeon is controlling. The surgeon maneuvers the four arms of the robot using foot pedals and hand controllers which mimic the hand movements of the provider with precision.
"This allows us to convert a surgery that may have once required an incision from the ribcage down to the pubic bone into just five small incision sites," said Lt. Col. Amy Asato, Director of Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery.

Smaller incisions mean shorter hospital stay and recovery time, lower risk of infection, and fewer complications for the patients. The benefits of the surgical robots also extend to the surgeon by expanding what the provider is able to do during the procedure.

"Traditional laparoscopic instruments are straight," Asato explained. "With the robotic it's wristed so it gives you a lot more flexibility and enables you to do things you weren't able to do before."
The robot takes out any hand tremors while translating the surgeon's movements at the console, allowing very smooth and precise motions during complex, microscopic procedures.

"Once you're at the console, you totally immerse yourself," she said. "During a typical laparoscopic procedure, you're using the instruments and looking at a screen, so having the images so close really extends your skills."

The DaVinci robots will be on display May 31, second floor of Eagle/River Pavilion lobby from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for staff and patients to see.