In traditional laparoscopic surgery the instruments and camera are held directly the surgeon and assistant. Robotic surgery is a special type of laparoscopic surgery. It involves using a robot with 4 arms that is docked alongside the operating table. Three of these arms are used to hold instruments while the fourth arm holds a camera. All the arms are controlled by the surgeon from a console and the robot does not move unless the surgeon moves the controls.
Attaching the instruments to the robotic arms allows for smaller, more precise movements which can facilitate surgery complicated by scar tissue or small spaces. The instruments used on the robot also have an extra joint compared to the traditional laparoscopic instruments which allows for a wider range of motion.
The camera used in robotic surgery utilizes two high resolution cameras and can magnify up to 12x. This allows the surgeon to see three dimensionally and zoom in to better see details in the tissue.
Due to the time necessary to set up the robot and additional cost, it is not appropriate for all surgeries however can be beneficial in cases expected to be complicated by scar tissue, large uterine fibroids or large ovarian cysts.