Skip to main content

Failure of a robotic arm during da Vinci prostatectomy: a case report


We report a rare case of a da Vinci robotic arm failure during a laparoscopic robot-assisted radical prostatectomy. The articulation joint of an Endowrist needle driver was broken and positioned at such an angle that made it impossible to remove through the trocar. In addition, it was later discovered that a small piece of the instrument was detached and remained inside the abdomen of the patient without even having been identified on subsequent radiological evaluation. In order to remove the broken instrument, we had to uninstall it from the robot arm and a bigger incision had to be made in the abdominal wall of the patient. The operation was completed without any other incidents. Testing the broken instrument for integrity is recommended to avoid this rare complication.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  1. Borden LS Jr, Kozlowski PM, Porter CR et al (2007) Mechanical failure rate of da Vinci robotic system. Can J Urol 14: 3499–3501

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Zorn KC, Gofrit ON, Orvieto MA et al (2007) Da vinci robot error and failure rates: single institution experience on a single three-arm robot unit of more than 700 consecutive robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomies. J Endourol 21: 1341–1344

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Nikolaos Koliakos.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Koliakos, N., Denaeyer, G., Willemsen, P. et al. Failure of a robotic arm during da Vinci prostatectomy: a case report. J Robotic Surg 2, 95–96 (2008).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Broken arm
  • Complication
  • da Vinci robot
  • Failure
  • Radical prostatectomy