Robot Assisted Surgery with Modern Robots

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Surgical procedures that are performed via robotic systems are known as robot assisted surgeries. There are certain boundaries to what a conventional surgery can do, to overcome them robot assisted surgery is used. It aids the surgeons during an open surgery by increasing their capabilities.

A surgeon has access to the controls to the robots during a surgery. He uses them to move robots that are fitted with the tools required to perform the operation. These controls aid the surgeons operate accurately and can perform surgeries that are accurate. First time a robot was used it was for a surgery on a leg in Vancouver circa 1985, voice command was used to control the robot. Since then a lot of progress has been made, robotic surgeries have become more common over time. Studies show us after becoming approved in the 2000s it has been on the rise. When we look at the numbers from previous decade in 2014 only an excess of 570,000 surgeries involving robots took place. Big hospitals are opting more and more for surgeries that use robotics. It has been used in every department since its inception. Thoracic, heart, gastrointestinal, gynecology, spine, urology are the few departments that are befitting from robotic surgeries. Especially urology and gynecology are the biggest users of it.

The most common type of robot assisted surgery is called da Vinci. It consists of robotic arms, surgeons use these robotic arms to create the incisions. Camera and robotic arms, 4 in total are used which make incisions which are 1 to 2 centimeters long. A console consisting of hand and foot controls are used in this surgery. A 3D image is created with the help of lenses. Hand controls assist with the movements and the foot controls help with how much energy you want to perform the motion with. The advantages of this are a very minute amount of pain, size of scars are small & little blood loss because of the small size of incisions made.

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Pros of Robotic Assisted Surgery:

When we look at the advantages that surround surgeries done by robots they are quite a few. Surgeons can now be more precise with the help of 3D imaging, they feel more comfortable controlling the arms eliminating the hand tremors, and can focus more and maybe able to perform techniques not possible with the conventional surgery. The edges that of robot provide are simple yet effective, for the patient they include small size of cuts made and reduced blood loss which leads to faster recovery, hence a faster return to their normal life.
Many studies indicate that the advantages provided by surgeries through robots are short termed and there are no hard facts that support its role in the long run over the conventional way of performing surgery. We will take a short example here of laparoscopic prostatectomy that is performed by robots, it has all those things which we talked about before lower blood loss and shorter hospital stays. Some studies concluded that robotic assisted surgeries are more efficient at removing the cancerous tissue. U.S is performing well over 85% prostatectomies with the help of robots. Some report the added benefits of robotic surgeries to include fewer complications and with little or no wound infections as compared to the traditional method of surgery. Another study shows that people undergone robotic assisted surgery have less control over their urine and have an increased chance of erectile dysfunction as compared to those who go under the knife the more traditional way. But again there are no hard facts to support this claim.

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Cons of Robotic Assisted Surgery:

The obvious danger a mechanical thing can pose is that it can break down at any time and if it does that during surgery it will pose a larger threat instead of helping the cause. It costs a lot when patients opt for robotic surgery as the machinery used is expensive and requires to be maintained regularly. It is also tiresome for the surgeons as it requires a lot of time to learn. They have put in hundreds of hours before they can perform robotic surgeries. Finally they have a large footprint and they can congest the already tightly packed operating rooms.

The hospitals need to use robotics in this new technological era but they have to make sure they are hiring the right people for the job and create room for innovation so that the risk can be minimized and more complex and diverse surgeries can be done. Proper steps should be implemented so the patients receive what they are paying for. Do any other similar technology for Robot Assisted Surgery comes into your mind that can revolutionize the way we treat our patients and run our facilities? Write in the comment section to add that in the list as well. You can’t even imagine how much it can help the healthcare communities and save how lives.


Written by…

M. Ahmad Zia

M. Ahmad Zia is a technology entrepreneur and a researcher in healthcare technology. Click the link below to get in touch with him.