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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 14, 2003

Surgery Robot Demonstration Planned For Aug. 15-16

University of Iowa Health Care faculty and staff members will have an opportunity to take a closer look at the cutting edge technology of the da Vinci robotic surgery system Aug. 15-16.

A mobile version of the system will be available for tours from 8 a.m. to noon Friday, Aug. 15, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16. The system will be located in the parking area adjacent to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Iowa City.

The da Vinci system allows a surgeon to operate without actually putting his or her hands on the patient. Instead, after establishing access into the body cavity, the physician sits at a computer console that offers a three-dimensional view of the area to be treated with magnification up to 12 times that of normal vision. The surgeon uses joystick-like controls to manipulate long, narrow, specially hinged surgical instruments that are inserted through small incisions in the patient. The remote-controlled instruments can be used in hard-to-reach areas and turned in ways that would be impossible with normal wrist dexterity. Altogether, these advantages allow the surgeon to work on a smaller scale and more precisely than traditional surgery. Information about the system can be viewed online at

The device currently is approved for use in surgeries in the abdomen, pelvis and chest. In addition, UI Hospitals and Clinics is the first medical center in Iowa to use the da Vinci system to perform urological procedures such as radical prostatectomy for removing a cancerous prostate and pyeloplasty for obstructed kidneys.

UI and visiting colleagues will train general and specialist surgeons in minimally invasive surgical techniques for kidney diseases at a UI conference Aug. 15-16. The event primarily involves hands-on training of physicians and nurses in how to perform laparoscopic surgery and how the robotic system is becoming part of this minimally invasive approach.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room 8798 JPP, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

CONTACT(S): Tom Moore, 319-356-3945,