Da Vinci Robot

The ‘Da-Vinci’ robot was donated by the Esther Koplowitz Foundation to the San Carlos Clinical Hospital in Madrid.

Once again, the Foundation confirms its unwavering commitment to public health.

The Esther Koplowitz minimally invasive robotic surgery programme

The San Carlos Clinical Hospital was founded in 1787 as the Royal College of Surgery with the primary aim of training surgeons to treat the civilian population. Later on, it became the core of the Faculty of Medicine at the Complutense University of Madrid, where it trained doctors and surgeons that were to achieve great national and international prestige. In 1990, the hospital performed the first laparoscopic surgery, marking a milestone in the development of minimally invasive surgery.

In 2006, the Esther Koplowitz Robotic Surgery programme was born, which covers most of the surgery carried out at the hospital thanks to the acquisition of the Da Vinci robot, an extraordinary tool of medical technology designed by NASA and funded by the Esther Koplowitz Foundation.

The Esther Koplowitz Robotic Surgery Programme is headed by Professor Jesus Alvarez Fernandez-Represa, Professor of General Surgery and Digestive Diseases, Faculty of Medicine at the Complutense University of Madrid, and Head of the General Surgery and Gastroenterology Department at the San Carlos Clinical Hospital.

Purpose of the Programme

The Esther Koplowitz Robotic Surgery programme's mission is to achieve excellence, both in the care provided to patients and in terms of teaching and research. It also incorporates Robotic Surgery into most of the hospital’s surgical specialties.

What is Robotic Surgery?

Robotic Surgery refers to surgical operations performed without the surgeon being in direct contact with the patient. The surgeon is located on a remote console away from the patient and moves articulated arms that are inside the patient and perform the exact manoeuvres required to complete the operation.

The view provided by the three-dimensional robot represents a substantial advantage over conventional laparoscopic surgery with 2-D imagery. Moreover the possibility of performing delicate movements from the console is greater than in conventional laparoscopic surgery, because the articulated robot arms that actually enter the patient have better axes of motion.

The main advantages of this type of surgery are that it only requires a small incision - thus allowing for faster patient recovery - and that the surgeon has a 3D view of the field of operations.

Therefore, it is the most suitable surgical system in circumstances requiring meticulous dissection of anatomical structures, such as the dissection of lymph nodes, blood vessels and nerves, all operations on tumours requiring accurate vascular and lymphatic dissection, as well as operations that entail delicate suturing or impaired vision, such as prostate or obesity surgery.

It is applied in the General and Digestive Surgery department in surgery for cancer of the colon, pelvic floor or prostate, obesity, cardiology and paediatric surgery. Of the 631 operations performed by the Da Vinci robot in its first 4 years of operation, 42% were general surgery and disorders of the digestive system, 37% for urological problems and 21% for gynaecological disorders.