Overview and Indications

Robotic surgery is surgery that is performed using very small tools attached to a robotic arm. The surgeon controls the robotic arm with a computer.

For patients, robotic surgery, when appropriate, provides a minimally invasive treatment choice that often leads to smaller incisions (less than one inch), less pain and less need for medication, minimal scarring and reduced bleeding. Other advantages for robotic surgery are a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery time for patients to return to normal daily routines – often shortening these times in half.

The Keck Medical Center of USC, which consists of Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital, has been pioneering robotic surgery for years and is the fastest-growing robotic surgery center in the country. Our surgeons performed the first robotic-assisted procedure in California for a prostate cancer patient using the da Vinci Xi Surgical System robot and were the first in Southern California and among the first west of the Mississippi to perform the Food and Drug Administration-approved robotic-assisted procedure for a lung cancer patient using the latest, minimally invasive surgical system.

The new Xi robot is optimized for thoracic procedures. The robotic system gives surgeons greater dexterity, precision and ability to remove cancerous tissue in all quadrants of the abdomen and chest because of its smaller arms. In addition, surgeons have a larger operating field in which to work, leading to better maneuverability without having to reposition the robot as frequently throughout the procedure. We were also the first on the west coast to offer Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS) through our USC Head and Neck Cancer Program, which allows for a minimally invasive approach that gives the surgeon enhanced dexterity and greater precision in head and neck tumor removal. This results in reduced pain and discomfort, reduced risk of infection and minimal scarring.