"The surgeon is at the command post, like a pilot," explained Achilles Demetriou, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Cedars-Sinai's Department of Surgery. "Some of the controls are voice activated to dim lights, change positions, and other functions. The doctor has his or her own prerecorded card imprinted with their voice commands, so the voice recognition system is individualized for each surgeon."
With the robotic arm integration, the physician can voice command: "Camera, move right. Move left. Go to Position Two." Also at the physician's fingertips is computer access to the hospital information system, allowing patient data to be accessed right in the operating room. The surgeon can upload X-rays and CT or MRI scans for reference, and even log onto the Internet to consult with another physician.
Cedars-Sinai introduced robotics about 18 months ago in its first modernized operating room suite, primarily used for spine procedures. The second redesigned room, which houses Zeus, is used for an array of surgical cases performed by general surgeons, urologists, cardiac surgeons and pediatric surgeons.
Not only does this reinvented operating room increase efficiency and economy, it also expands the opportunities for minimally invasive surgical procedures, offering patients more and better treatment options.
Although Kim admits to initially being a little apprehensive about being the first person in the country to have the Zeus robotic-assisted procedure, she believes strongly that robotics are the way of the future for surgical procedures such as hers.
"It's like the difference between a sewing machine and sewing something by hand," she says. "The doctor is still in control, but the robot assisted him in internal suturing, resulting in a very fine incision which is barely noticeable. I don't feel like I've even had an operation."