There are many hospitals and centers that provide robotic surgery. In many cases, these centers even utilize the exact same robotic surgery system.
So does it make any difference which one you choose?
Yes, it does. In fact, the robotic surgery center you choose can have a significant impact—on your experience before and during surgery, on your recovery and on your ultimate outcome.
The following guidelines can help you to choose the best robotic surgery center—and the best surgeon—for your particular needs.
In all areas of medicine, high-volume centers are consistently associated with better outcomes. So it is important to choose a center that does a high volume of robotic surgeries.
High volume centers usually have OR teams that are devoted exclusively to robotic surgery. This helps ensure that everyone—from your surgeon, to the OR nurses, to the technicians—are all experts at their particular functions.
It is also important to find out if a center does a high volume of the particular surgery you need. So for example, if you require prostate surgery, you should find out how many robotic prostatectomies the center performs each year.
Robotic surgery has given surgeons a powerful new tool. But every tool works best when it is handled by an expert.
How do you define expertise for a robotic surgeon? You should look for expertise in a particular specialty—like urological surgery or gynecological surgery. And expertise in robotic surgery itself.
As a patient, there are several specific things you can research online or in person:
Robotic technology has given surgeons impressive new capabilities—to see with more detail and to perform surgical maneuvers that are difficult or impossible to perform otherwise.
To ensure that you will fully benefit from all that robotic surgery has to offer, you can ask the following questions:
In all realms of medicine, the best doctors and surgeons teach other doctors. So whether you need a cardiac surgeon, or an oncologist, or a neurosurgeon, you will find that the best doctors are usually teachers, as well.
The same is true for robotic surgery. So one way to identify the best robotic surgery centers—and the best surgeons—is to find out if they are involved in teaching their skills to others.
How can you find out if your surgeon has this level of expertise? When you choose a robotic surgery center that is part of an academic medical center, you will find a wide selection of surgeons who have the expertise necessary to teach others.
Remember: your surgery will be performed by your surgeon—not by a doctor who is still learning. So you can have the confidence of knowing your surgery is being performed by a surgeon with the highest level of skill.
Research is the way medical care gets better. Robotic surgery itself is the result of medical research.
When you choose a robotic surgery center that is active in research, you help to ensure that you receive cutting edge care.
How can you tell if your robotic surgery center is involved in research?
Robotic surgery centers are not all the same. By applying these guidelines, you will help ensure that you make the best possible choice.