(April 8, 2011) Venice, Florida. —— Heart patients in Venice could soon find themselves under the knife at the hands of a robot. For patients at the Venice Ocala Heart Institute, the latest in surgical technology — the da Vinci — has arrived. The new robot is another tool to help surgeons get patients get back on their feet. We aren’t talking about the hands of the renowned artist Leonardo da Vinci, but the arms of the new robot called the da Vinci Surgical System that is helping surgeons with complex heart procedures all with 3 small incisions about the size of dime. Da Vinci, the robot, at the hands of the skilled cardiovascular, thoracic and vascular surgeons at Venice Ocala Heart Institute, promises less invasive surgery for some patients. That means smaller incisions and smaller scars, and also shorter recovery times for patients, getting them back to their active lives sooner. Da Vinci surgery is not for everyone; in some cases, traditional surgery may be best. It’s a decision that must be made between patient and doctor. The surgeons at the Venice Ocala Heart Institute are committed to implementing this new technology responsibly, and are excited to expand their skills at the hands of da Vinci. How does a robot perform surgery? The da Vinci Surgical System is a computer-enhanced robot with two distinct parts. The first part is like a remote control for the surgeon; the second is the robot itself with arms physically performing a surgery on a patient. The outcome is the same skilled surgeon performing the same complex surgery, but instead of making an incision large enough for his hands, he makes an incision large enough for the robot’s hands. The incision is about the size of a dime. In some cases, surgeons prefer the robot over their own hands. “The range of motion allows precision that is not available in standard minimally invasive procedures,” explains Mateo B. Dayo, III, MD, MBA, a cardiovascular, thoracic and vascular surgeon at Venice Ocala Heart Institute, whose practice just received their da Vinci surgical system. The robot is the first of its kind in Venice. What Are the Benefits of A Robot Surgery? There are clear benefits to a da Vinci surgery for both a patient and even for a surgeon. For a qualified patient, the benefits are great. With a robotic surgery there is a smaller incision, which means less trauma, leading to a shorter recovery time. It can even save patients money with a shorter hospital stay, not to mention less blood loss, less risk of infection, and smaller scars. Not every surgery will be a good fit for the da Vinci but Dayo says, “By integrating computer-enhanced technology with our expertise, the da Vinci System enables us to perform extremely delicate and precise procedures and make them minimally invasive.” For the surgeon, the dexterity and range of motion on a da Vinci revolutionize surgery. The controller has an enhanced 3-D view very similar to traditional surgery. The movements of the robotic arms are exact, meaning improved precision. “The robot can turn its ‘wrist’ 360 degrees, something a human could never do,” explains Dayo. The da Vinci turns complex, traumatic, invasive surgeries into minimally invasive, low-trauma surgeries while remaining just as complex. A robot revolutionizing surgery in Venice Heart surgery will never be the same in Venice with the introduction of the da Vinci robot to the Venice Ocala Heart Institute. At a cost of about $1.5 million dollars, surgeons their say it is money well spent because it will get their patients back to the things they love sooner and give them a hand up on surgery. The da Vinci is FDA-approved. The half-ton piece of equipment will be coming through the doors of the Venice Ocala Heart Institute in April.