Today I got to watch the Di Vinchi, a laproscopic robot that is controlled by the doctor! The robot is used for a multitude of surgeries in the pelvic area (e.g. intestine, prostate, etc) it is also used on the heart and other laproscopic areas.
I will have some pic's up later but I was able to watch in 3D the removal of a prostate in a 60-70 year old male patient. The setup was pretty simple: ports were placed into the pelvic area, then the robot was placed over the patient, and the rest the Dr. did about 7 ft away from the operating table...manipulating the robotic arms via the robot/human controls!
The nature of the surgery is truly robot assisted though, because multiple Drs are still required to aid the robotic arms with other laproscopic tools near the bed. However the robot gives the dr doing the majority of the "cutting/surgery" many more degrees of freedom in manipulating the laproscopic devices, thus he can cut, trim, sutcher, pull, etc. etc. in many different , human impossible angles.
Very very cool biomedical engineering.