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Test Drive A Surgical Robot

The public is invited to get behind the wheel of MeritCare's da Vinci Surgical Robot at Macy's West Acres on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This $1.6 million, futuristic surgical system allows doctors at MeritCare to use state-of-the-art robotics to perform the most complex procedures with unmatched precision. But for patients, da vinci means better surgical outcomes and faster recovery times. MeritCare was one of the first hospitals in the nation to purchase the da vinci robot in 2002 for heart surgery. This summer robot assisted prostate cancer and gynecologic surgeries were introduced at MeritCare. Developed by Intuitive Surgical of California and approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the da Vinci robot has two major components. - The first is the surgeon's ability to view and control the console and monitor, which is situated a few feet from the patient, but theoretically could be miles away. The console provides the surgeon with a sharp, three-dimensional view inside the body, clearer and more magnified than it could ever be with magnifying glasses worn by surgeons today. - The second is the robot. It has four arms equipped with a tiny camera and surgical instruments to carry out the procedure through small incisions. Sitting at the console, the surgeon guides the tiny surgical instruments through a set of fingertip controls. The da Vinci Surgical System is designed to enable complex surgeries of all types to be performed through tiny incisions in the body.