Robotic surgery is taking the medical world by storm and is going from strength to strength as more devices emerge. Additionally, the more that robotics continues to evolve, the more accessible and affordable these systems are becoming. Hopefully, this means that medical centers on a smaller scale will also be able to offer robotic-assisted surgery and similar services to their patients in the future.
Before we look at the future of robotics, it's important to understand every aspect of this pioneering technology.
Robotic surgery offers several advantages in medicine, making it an increasingly popular choice for certain procedures. As robot-assisted surgery advances, this technology will become more common.
Here are just some of the advantages you can expect from robotic-assisted surgery:
Robotic surgery lets surgeons perform procedures through tiny incisions compared to conventional open surgery. This approach to minimally invasive surgery generally reduces trauma to the surrounding tissues. In turn, it leaves the patient in less pain, with reduced scarring, and a faster recovery.
Compared to the human hand, the robotic arms used in surgery allow for more precise movements. These robotic arms can execute movements with incredible accuracy and have a much greater range of motion.
Robotic-assisted surgery usually incorporates advanced cameras that provide magnified, high-definition, and 3D views of the surgical site.
The minimally invasive nature of robotic surgery results in minimal blood loss during the procedure. This lessens the need for blood transfusions and is especially beneficial for patients who may have underlying conditions that make excessive blood loss a concern (such as hemophilia).
The small surgical instruments used in robotic surgery allow surgeons to perform operations that would otherwise require larger incisions. This lowers the need for traditional open surgery and can lead to fewer complications and faster recovery times.
Robot-assisted surgery carries less risk of infection compared to conventional open surgery. These tiny incisions and minimally invasive procedures reduce the risk of exposure to external contaminants and germs.
Surgeons using robotic technology have improved dexterity. As the surgeon controls the robotic arms, they mimic their hands with accuracy and precision.
Robotic surgery is used in a variety of medical specialties to perform complex yet minimally invasive procedures. However, there are still some limitations on which procedures can be performed using robotic surgery.
Here's a list of which surgeries can be performed by robots (and their advantages):
Robotic-assisted surgery is a representation of the advancements taking place in the medical field, and their future potential seems endless.
These cutting-edge surgical instruments are giving surgeons the tools to be more precise and give them better dexterity and 3D visualization. As a result, surgeons can tackle more complex, minimally invasive procedures. From cardiac to gynecological surgeries, these robots are already turning traditional techniques on their head.
In the future, with the integration of artificial intelligence (AI), robotic surgical systems can be applied to specialized care, changing the world of medicine. In fact, as robotic surgery simulation is evolving, it's becoming more commonplace in surgical education. This allows healthcare professionals to stay abreast of these advancements.
Robotic-assisted surgery is completely changing the way that doctors operate. In the past, robots like AESOP and ZEUS were created for laparoscopic surgery. These robots could hold a camera and surgical instruments, which helped to reduce the strain on surgeons.
It should already be obvious that robotic surgery has plenty of advantages. It offers a 3D view, uses special lights to see the surgical site better, and also allows surgeons to work precisely in tight spaces. Surgeons can even sit down during robot-assisted surgery, which can be much more comfortable than standing for long procedures.
Doctors are also not the only ones who can benefit from this switch from conventional open surgery. Research has also shown that patients can benefit just as much. Patients who undergo robotic surgery usually have fewer postoperative complications or problems, recover much quicker, and spend less time in the hospital.
Since robotics incorporates AI, they can give surgeons helpful information during surgeries based on data from thousands of other procedures. This means better decisions from surgeons and better results for patients.
There are several procedures that are possible with robotic surgery. These surgeries have completely changed how procedures, which would usually require conventional open surgery, are done. This is good news for patients, doctors, and the medical field in general.
Some of the most common procedures that can be performed with robotic surgery include:
The history of robotics in the medical field has seen some remarkable achievements, and the future for minimally invasive surgery through robotics is looking brighter than ever. To fully understand where robotic surgery can go, you first need to understand how far it has come.
From the 1980s to the 1990s, the concept of robotic surgery began to gain traction, with the idea of achieving autonomous surgery. Early examples like the PROBOT helped to demonstrate the feasibility and safety of automated robotic procedures, but they weren't widely adopted.
From the late 1990s until now, the focus shifted from autonomous systems to master/slave technology (where the surgeon controls the robot). In turn, devices like ZEUS and the da Vinci system have been adopted to enhance standard laparoscopic surgery.
Presently, there are nearly 6,000 da Vinci systems that are in operation across the globe. With their implementation, this robotic technology has helped to complete more than 8.5 million procedures.
Additionally, robotic surgery is most prevalent in general and gynecologic surgeries. In the UK, urologists are also leading the charge in performing robotic procedures - particularly in laparoscopic prostatectomies.
In recent years, robotic technology in the medical field has brought about unique advancements that are reshaping the way that the technology is used.
Firstly, robotic systems, like the da Vinci system, offer immersive 3D endoscopic vision using high magnification. This can significantly improve a surgeon's ability to visualize surgical planes and key structures. Robotic systems also use advanced technologies like the Endowrist system. This mimics the movement of a human wrist and elbow and gives a wider range of motion than a standard laparoscopy.
Robotic surgery has been driven by the field of urology, but its future growth is expected to extend to other fields like ear, nose, and throat (ENT); thoracic surgery; and even further into gynecology and general surgery. You can also already see how quickly it's being used within these specialties.
The patent expiration of the da Vinci system has led to the emergence of more novel robotic systems with unique features.
For example, the Versius system by CMR Surgical has a more portable and open-console design, making it a significant competitor. Similarly, Johnson & Johnson's Ottava aims to integrate machine learning, while Medtronic's Hugo is more modular and offers AI-powered data analytics.
In fact, AI is poised to completely transform robotic surgery. These technologies can help to provide surgeons with automated performance metrics, assist in training, and enhance decision-making in surgery.
Robotic surgery has exceeded expectations across medical specialties, from cardiac to gynecological surgeries. This has completely revolutionized patient care.
In cardiac surgery, robots like the da Vinci system have provided unparalleled precision for delicate heart surgeries. In turn, this minimizes invasiveness and reduces recovery times. Similarly, gynecological surgeries (particularly hysterectomies) have undergone a major shift with robotic assistance.
The common trend across these specialties is the enhancement of surgeons' capabilities through robotic technology. As it continues to evolve and accessibility to these systems improves, robotic surgeries will be able to explore new frontiers in the medical field.
Robotic surgery has fewer complications and risks compared to open and laparoscopic surgery. But that's not to say that it doesn't have any risks. Some of the most common risks with robotic surgery include technical malfunctions, slightly longer operating times, and the need for specialized training.
Unfortunately, the cost of robotic-assisted surgery can be slightly more expensive than traditional surgeries. This is mainly due to the types of technologies involved. However, it can lead to cost savings in other areas, like shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery times.
Currently, robotic surgery stands as a beacon of progress in the medical world and has completely restructured how surgeries are performed. Similarly, it has also changed patient outcomes for the better. Its minimally invasive nature, better precision, and shorter recovery times promise a safer and more effective healthcare system.