Robotic Surgery: Is it for me?

Should I consider robotic-assisted surgery? Does a robot really perform the procedure?

Let’s cut right to the chase: No, a robot does not perform the surgical procedure. It doesn’t make decisions. And it doesn’t control itself.

During robotic-assisted surgery, a highly trained surgeon performs the procedure and controls the entire process. Robotic-assisted technology is simply another tool that gives surgeons greater precision while they operate, which often results in fewer scars, less pain and a quicker recovery.

“When patients hear the term ‘robotic-assisted surgery,’ they understandably might think that a robot is actually performing the surgery, but that isn’t the case,” said Dr. Eric Lundgren, a surgeon who performs robotic-assisted procedures using the new state-of-the-art Da Vinci Xi surgical system at Penn Highlands DuBois. “The technology is really just a very precise set of tools that we control with our own hands, enabling us to perform procedures through tiny incisions and with a greater level of accuracy.”

What are the advantages of robotic-assisted surgery?

In recent decades, robotic-assisted medical procedures have revolutionized how doctors can best serve a patient. Robotic technology delivers significant benefits, including:

  • Enhanced vision
  • A high level of precision
  • Greater control and dexterity
  • Much less invasive incisions

What are the benefits for the patient?

Compared with other types of surgery, patients who undergo robotic-assisted procedures have fewer complications, less pain, less scarring, less need for narcotic pain medication and shorter hospital stays. These benefits help patients return to their normal daily activities faster and with less pain.

How does robotic-assisted surgery work?

During the procedure, the surgeon sits at a console next to the patient and operates by using the robotic arm, a sophisticated computerized instrument with arms and joints that provide the surgeon with the ability to move and maneuver with hyper-precision. The technology also utilizes 3D imaging, giving the surgeon an extremely accurate and detailed view.

What type of procedures use robotic-assisted technology?

Robotic-assisted technology is used in a variety of procedures, including:

  • Colorectal surgery
  • General surgery
  • Gynecological surgery
  • Hip and knee replacements (using the Mako Smart Robot)
  • Lung procedures
  • Urological surgery

The Robotic Center at Penn Highlands Healthcare is a leader in robotic-assisted surgical procedures. The highly experienced team of surgeons and specialists at Penn Highlands utilize the most advanced technology to provide patients with greater outcomes and benefits compared to traditional procedures. To learn more about robotic-assisted surgery, visit