Does robotic surgery have a future?

Does robotic surgery have a future?

To answer this question, we need to define first what robotic surgery is. This type of surgery is known under different names; it is also relatively new and still expanding.

Robotic surgery is done with small surgery tools attached to a robotic arm that is inserted into a body through small incisions. The surgeon controls the robotic arm with a computer. He or she sees the area of the surgery on a high-resolution screen.

The terms robot-assisted surgery and remote surgery are sometimes used instead. Remote surgery is actually a different way of performing surgery on a patient. It is also called Telesurgery.  In remote surgery the surgeon does not need to be next to the patient. He can be hundreds of miles away, controlling the robotic arm over the Internet or special direct computer connections.

How is it done? During surgery with the use of a robot, the surgeon sits next to the patient who is under anesthesia. He makes small openings and inserts the robotic arm into the patient’s body. Then a thin tube with a camera is inserted. This lets the surgeon see the part of the body that needs surgical manipulation on a high-definition 3D screen. The surgeon then performs the actual surgery using the small surgical tools at the end of the robotic arm.

Surgery via robot is useful for:

  • Gallbladder removal,
  • Hysterectomy,
  • Kidney removal or transplant,
  • Prostatectomy,
  • Cystectomy,
  • Tubal ligation,
  • Mitral valve repair.

Benefits of robotic surgery are:

  • Reduced blood loss,
  • Small incisions,
  • Faster recovery,
  • Less pain after surgery,
  • Shorter hospital stay,
  • Less scaring.

Robot-assisted surgery can take longer than standard surgery. However, it is not riskier than orthodox surgery. It spares a patient pain, is less intrusive and cheaper because of reduced hospital stays.

Robotic surgery is here to stay.

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