Breakthrough: Robotic surgery

How robots are transforming minimally invasive surgical procedures.

In an operating room at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Dr. Colleen Feltmate performs a hysterectomy on a woman with uterine cancer. As Dr. Feltmate operates, she doesn't stand next to the patient, but in front of a monitor and console. The hands holding the instruments are not her own—they belong to a robot.

Robot-assisted techniques are the next generation in minimally invasive surgery. Surgeons can now perform laparoscopic procedures with the assistance of remotely controlled instruments attached to a robot's arms. At Brigham and Women's (BWH)—and at other hospitals around the country—doctors are using robots to do everything from removing uterine fibroids (myomectomy) to cutting out kidney tumors (radical and partial nephrectomy).

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