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What Is Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery? (slideshow)

More than a decade of robotic surgery services at Scripps Health

More than a decade of robotic surgery services at Scripps Health


Minimally invasive robotic surgery has dramatically changed the way surgeons perform many complex procedures and improved how quickly patients recover.


Robotic technology enables surgeons to operate with greater flexibility, precision and control with the aid of this special equipment. Patients benefit because robotic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure, which results in less scarring, reduced blood loss and risk of infection, a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery time.


Advances in robotic technology have allowed surgeons to treat more conditions that in the past would have to be performed with more invasive, traditional open surgery. At Scripps, robotic surgeons treat a wide variety of medical conditions, including cardiac and lung conditions, urologic disorders, gynecologic issues, hernia and colon and rectal problems.

How does robotic surgery work?

In minimally invasive procedures, surgeons make small incisions instead of longer ones, which are used in more invasive, traditional open surgery. Smaller incisions mean faster healing for the patient. The precision of the technology means fewer complications.


During robotic surgery the surgeon makes tiny incisions using the small robotic arms, which are fitted with surgical instruments and a minuscule 3D camera. The surgeon controls these arms from a computer console in the operating room that displays a close-up view of the surgical site.


The robotic instruments allow precise movements and a much greater range of motion than the human hand and wrist. As the surgeon moves his or her hand, wrist and fingers, the robotic arms perform the same movements in real time. Throughout the surgery, the surgeon can see inside the body in three dimensions.

Robotic surgery at Scripps

When it comes to robotic surgery or any surgery, experience matters. Scripps surgeons have completed more than 10,000 robot-assisted procedures since 2007 when the Scripps Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery Program was launched.


“Scripps is committed to bringing the most advanced minimally invasive surgery services to all our patients across San Diego County,” says Carol Salem, MD, a urologic robotic surgeon and medical director of the Scripps Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery Program. “With this tremendous technology available in our operating rooms, our highly skilled surgeons can offer precision robotics combined with personalized care.”


Only select surgeons can perform minimally invasive robotic surgery at Scripps. They are required to undergo continuous, highly specialized training in robot-assisted techniques.


Scripps offers robotic procedures within the following specialties:



Not everyone is a candidate for minimally invasive surgical procedures. Your doctor will help you understand which surgical options are safest for you, based on your age, health and other factors.