Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

Robotic-Like Device Cleared for Heart Surgery

Surgeon Performs Heart Bypass Surgery Without Touching Patient

WebMD Health News

July 9, 2004 -- The FDA has cleared the marketing of a robotic-like system to assist in heart bypass surgery.

The device will be used in open heart bypass surgery in which there is direct access to the chest through an open incision to the chest. The device enables a surgeon to perform heart bypass surgery while seated at a console with a computer and video monitor. The surgeon's hands are used to control the instrument arms within the patient. They control small surgical instruments to perform the heart surgery.

Doctors use heart bypass surgery to open clogged arteries that supply blood to the heart muscles. During the procedure, the surgeon is able to reroute blood supply around the blocked vessels to help prevent a heart attack or worsening heart function. Several arteries can be bypassed during the same surgery.

With the robotic-like system, the surgeon uses handgrips and foot pedals on a console to control three robotic arms that perform the surgery with a variety of surgical tools. The robotic arms, which have a "wrist" built into the end of the tool, give surgeons additional manipulation ability during surgery, providing easier, more intricate motion and better control of tools.

The product, the Da Vinci Endoscopic Instrument Control System, manufactured by Intuitive Surgical Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., is already cleared for use in other types of surgeries, including laparoscopic gall bladder and acid reflux disease surgery, and for other chest surgeries not involving the heart.

"The development of this system for use in the heart is a step forward in new robotic technology that eventually could change the practice of heart surgery," says Lester Crawford, MD, FDA Acting Commissioner.


Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
empty football helmet
red wine
eating blueberries
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Inside A Heart Attack
Omega 3 Sources
Salt Shockers
lowering blood pressure