What is robotic weight loss surgery?

Mercy Health experienced surgeons can perform bariatric (weight loss) surgery using a robot called the da Vinci Robotic System. Robotic surgery uses small incisions instead of a large abdominal incision and therefore is less invasive than traditional bariatric surgery.

Mercy Health is a national teaching facility for robotic weight loss surgery using the da Vinci Robotic System. Our bariatric surgeons train surgeons across the United States.

How is robotic weight loss surgery performed?

Robotic weight loss surgery is performed using the da Vinci Robotic Surgery System. The da Vinci robot is a surgical assistance tool that enables bariatric surgeons to perform weight loss surgery using computer-guided, magnified, 3-D visualization.

A surgeon will maneuver the robot through small incisions in the patient's abdomen. Using four robotic arms, the surgeon will make movements and the robot will translate the movement into ultra-precise movements inside your body.

Who is a candidate for robotic weight loss surgery?

Patients who are severely obese may be candidates for robotic surgery. Severely obese is considered anyone with a Body Mass Index of greater than 40. This translates to someone who is more than 100 pounds overweight.

You may also be a candidate if you have a BMI over 35 in combination with medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

The increased visualization that the robotic system offers gives the surgeon more control over movements for the severely obese patient.

Benefits of gastric bypass surgery

The da Vinci Surgical System gives Mercy Health surgeons an increased view of the stomach and surrounding organs, which enables them to be more precise and controlled in during surgery.

Compared to conventional laparoscopic weight loss procedures, robotic bariatric surgery may offer patients numerous potential benefits, including:

  • Quicker recovery
  • Reduced pain and scarring
  • Quicker return to regular routine
  • Fewer complications
  • Less trauma to the body
  • Lower infection rates
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Much lower rate of gastrointestinal leaks
  • Lower risk of needing follow-up surgery

Risks of robotic weight loss surgery

As with any surgery, there are risks associated with robotic weight loss surgery. Risks include:

  • Leaking from area where bowel was reconnected during surgery
  • Leaking from area where bowel was cut
  • Dehydration
  • Nutrition deficiencies
  • Food moves too quickly from stomach into small intestine

Recovery from robotic weight loss surgery

Most patients who have robotic bariatric surgery can expect a two- to three-week recovery period after surgery. Rest is critical during the recovery period to allow your body to heal.

It is also important to follow your doctor’s instructions on how many calories you should be consuming during this period. You should not exercise during the recovery period.

Collaborate with your bariatric surgeon and weight loss team to develop a plan to gradually start an exercise program.

Keys to long-term success of robotic weight loss surgery

It is important to commit yourself to a healthier lifestyle after any weight loss surgery. Keys to success after robotic weight loss surgery include:

  • Eat three balanced meals each day - avoid snacking
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • Eat protein with every meal, preferably first - you will eat less food if you eat protein first
  • Exercise regularly

Find a surgical weight loss specialist nearby

Mercy Health locations that can treat you