Skip to main content

On This Page

The expert robotic surgeons at Huntsman Cancer Institute are national leaders in robotic techniques. Our team uses the latest technologies to improve patient outcomes. We are proud to offer robotic surgery as a safe and effective approach to cancer treatment.

Robotic surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery. A surgeon with special training controls a robotic system to perform precise and controlled movements. Huntsman Cancer Institute uses a robot called the Intuitive da Vinci® Surgical System. Inside the body, the machine imitates the surgeon’s hand and wrist movements. These movements control very small surgical tools. The surgeon makes a few small cuts, called incisions, instead of one large cut used in traditional surgical approaches.

Minimally invasive robotic surgery has these benefits for patients:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Shorter recovery times
  • Less pain and scarring
  • Fewer complications
  • Faster surgery and less time under anesthesia
  • Better clinical outcomes

Learn more about how robotic surgery has improved patient outcomes.

Types of Cancer Treated with Robotic Surgery

Robotic surgery is an approach that can be used in many surgical subspecialties. Huntsman Cancer Institute offers robotic surgery for these types of cancer:

  • Gastrointestinal cancers: colon, esophageal, gallbladder, liver, pancreatic, rectal, stomach, and small intestine
  • Gynecologic cancers: ovarian and uterine
  • Lip and oral cavity cancers
  • Lung and thoracic cancers
  • Urologic cancers: bladder, kidney, and prostate

Robotic surgery is not right for every type of cancer. It may not be right for every patient. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment for you.

How Robotic Surgery Works

Intuitive da Vinci - Patient Cart
©2023 Intuitive Surgical Operations, Inc.

The robotic system is controlled by a surgeon who performs the surgery. The surgeon sits at the console a few feet away and views the surgical site through a high-definition 3D camera. The camera offers 10x magnification, allowing the surgeon to see the most precise and smallest structures. The robot holds the camera and the surgical tools inside the patient’s body. From the console, the surgeon uses controls to operate the robotic arms. The robot moves these small instruments and mimics the surgeon's hand movements precisely. This allows for stability and precision during the surgery, leading to improved outcomes for our patients.

The surgeon can do the following:

  • Make small incisions, or cuts
  • See more clearly inside the patient
  • Reduce the need for large surgery cuts
  • Get better tissue samples for treatment planning
  • Perform more complex surgeries

Our Experts

The Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah has one of the most comprehensive and advanced robotic surgery programs in the United States, with 15 surgeons performing robotic surgery in a variety of cancer specialties. Our experts are highly trained and have experience using robotic surgery to treat various types of cancer. Since we launched our program in 2011, we have performed more than 5,000* surgeries using the robot.

Our doctors use a multidisciplinary approach to review each patient’s case and discuss treatment options with specialists in oncology, radiation, hormone therapies, and more. As nationally recognized robotic surgery specialists in oncology, we have created and developed a robotic surgery training program used at many cancer centers across the country. All surgeons who practice robotic surgery at Huntsman Cancer Institute are required to complete this training and credentialing.

*As of December 31, 2022

Find a Robotic Surgeon

Patient Stories