The da Vinci Robotic Surgical System

The da Vinci robotic surgical system (Intuitive Surgical Inc., Sunnyvale, CA USA) has three components: the vision cart, the master console and the surgical cart.

Vision cart. This component is roughly similar to a standard laparoscopic cart, but with some substantial differences. It holds the dual light source and the image processor for the two cameras that are installed on the single endoscope, which is consequently able to provide a 3D image for the surgeon. It also holds a standard laparoscopic CO2 insufflator and a standard laparoscopic monitor for the assistants and the scrub technician.

Master console (Fig. 1). This is where the surgeon sits. It contains the computers that process the combined images to create a true 3D image. The surgeon looks down into the viewer as if he were looking straight at the surgical field. He places his hands on

Fig. 2. Robotic arms the control handles located in the lower part of the console and, by moving the joysticks, he transfers his movements to the robotic arms. Foot pedals at the console provide control for the electrocautery, as well as a clutch.

Surgical cart (Fig. 2). This consists of the 3 robotic arms mounted on a movable chassis. The manipulators (which are covered with sterile drapes during the procedures) are mounted on a central column placed on the wheel-mounted surgical cart. Two arms are for holding the surgical tools and respond to the movements of the surgeon's hands, while one is for holding the three-dimensional stereo-endoscope and camera. The arms have three degrees of freedom (pitch, yaw and insertion) and they hold specifically designed instruments that have a wrist-like movement at their tip.

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