Robotic surgery is a widely used term nowadays. Robots are used to perform many surgical operations to allow more control, precision and, as a result, to make surgery intrusions less invasive. Can we say that surgical robots have made some intrusions possible in principle? Of course, we can.
History of Medical Robots
Robots in surgery have been for more than two decades. The first robot in medicine was called PUMA 560. This device was used to put a needle to perform a brain biopsy.
Some years later, in 1988, PROBOT, the next surgical robot, was introduced at a hospital in London. Soon after PROBOT, a da Vinci surgical robot was developed. This system has changed the industry of medical robots forever.
When Was the First Robotic Surgery Performed?
The first robotic surgery was performed in 1985. The surgical robotic arm was applied to perform a very delicate non-laparoscopic surgery, neurosurgical biopsy. In 1988, PUMA surgical arms were used to perform minimally invasive robotic surgery for gallbladder removal, a cholecystectomy. Since then, mechanized robots have been widely applied in the medical field until 2000, when Da Vinci surgery robot was developed, it changed the entire approach to robotics in surgery.
Types of Robotic Surgery
Robotic medical technology is applied to perform many surgery types. Assisting robots can reduce the risks of any surgery and minimize the recovery period. For a patient, it means in most cases a minimal invasion instead of open surgery and, hence, less blood loss, less pain, and less scarring.
What Is Robotic-Assisted Surgery?
So, what is robotic surgery, how does it work? As you can already see from the term, robotic surgery is a type of surgery performed with the application of robots. Robots, or rather mechanical arms, are controlled by a doctor or several doctors.
There are two ways to perform surgical procedures with a mechanical arm:
• By using a telemanipulator: the doctor performs all the movements as if he/she was making the operation. The robot makes the same movements but applies special manipulators and end-effectors to perform the actual intrusion.
• Via a computer control: the doctor controls a medical robotic arm through a computer.
Robotic Laser Surgery
Laser robotics is considered to be the future of surgery. And indeed, robots allow making even the finest intrusions with top precision. Is robotic surgery better than traditional surgery? If we speak about eye surgery, it definitely is. Moreover, it allows performing procedures that re impossible to do manually.
Da Vinci Surgical System
Da Vinci surgical system was developed in 2000. With its introduction, a new era in medicine started. Before 2000, different types of medical robots were used. They mostly relied on endoscopic equipment and the work of numerous assistants.
Da Vinci operating robot has a special screen that allows magnifying the areas that need to be operated. A surgeon manipulates miniature robotic arms to perform the surgery. A camera robot arm replicates the movements of the hands of a surgeon. It allows for improving the accuracy of movements in very small operating areas.
How Does Robotic Surgery Work?
The benefits of robots in medicine are evident. Robotic surgery has applications everywhere where minimally invasive surgery can be applied.
First, small incisions are made in the body of a patient. Then, a surgeon inserts in these incisions miniature instruments and a camera. In some cases, incisions are not needed. Further, the surgeon manages the instruments to perform the intrusion.
Is Robotic Surgery Safe?
Generally, robotic surgery is considered safe. It is indeed a better option unless an open operation is the only option. However, one shall remember that it is still a surgery. Hence, it is connected with the common surgery risks such as complications, infection, and so on. Though we shall agree that these risks of robotic surgery are significantly reduced if we compare it with open surgery.
Pros and Cons of Robotic Surgery
The advantages of robots in medicine are evident. Robots in the medical field allow eliminate or reduce some risks such as complications, infections, and similar. They allow faster recovery and fewer scars.
Cons of robotic surgery are connected with rather human factors. In some hospitals, doctors get a short training before they start using these advancements in surgical technology.
Benefits of Robotic Surgery
Robotics used in medicine brings many benefits to patients. Robots allow performing surgeries where people cannot. Tiny incisions made during robotic surgery are less painful and are cured faster. Further advantages of robots used in the medical field are:
• More precision;
• Less blood loss;
• Shorter recovery period;
• Less painful experience.
Dangers of Robotic Surgery
Disadvantages of robotic surgery are less significant than its advantages. However, they exist. Even a minimally invasive intrusion is a surgery. So, risks of infection, complications are not eliminated. However, if one compares surgical tech benefits with their drawbacks, the difference is evident.
Robots in Medicine Today
Robots have taken an important place in modern medicine. Even though some people still don’t see the difference between robotic and laparoscopic surgery, however, the first one is safer and more accurate. Robots can give access to the areas to operate where usually even the best surgeon can hardly do anything without the technology application.
How Much Does Robotic Surgery Cost?
Robots used in the medical field are not cheap. Da Vinci System costs a couple of millions of dollars to the hospital. Add the training costs, salaries, additional equipment, and you will get the price for one surgery performed by a robot. Usually, it is around a couple of thousands of USD. Robotic surgery cost is high. But if you compare the risks with the risks during an open operation, you will see why there is such a difference.
Will Surgeons Be Replaced by Robots?
What is robotics and what are robots? Robots are machines. They are capable of complex super accurate operations but they cannot think and make decisions. A surgeon manipulates the robot’s arms. Robots surgery future is definitely great but robots will never replace surgeons.