Many ask us the above question. Here is a brief review:
Surgeons and patients have been experiencing the benefits of robotic surgery for nearly 20-years, but the term 'Robotic Surgery' is a bit of a misnomer. 'Computer Assisted Surgery' is often used as a more accurate term. While there are new devices being developed which may be able to someday independently perform surgery, today's robotic surgeons have total control over the devices (robots) they use to perform procedures.
For internal surgery, small incisions are made for thin diameter surgical tools and a 3-D camera to work inside the patient. The Surgeon sits at a console nearby, visualizing everything inside their patient, manipulating controls, which then perform the surgery, under direct control. The robotic devices in use today can do NOTHING without the surgeon at the controls! Sometimes larger incisions are needed to remove or replace organs, but they are generally much smaller than required for traditional 'Open" surgery. Recovery is documented to be faster, post-op infection risk is lower, too.
Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS), is just that: The surgeon is able to go through the patient’s mouth to visualize and remove many oropharyngeal cancers which once used to require splitting open the jaw of a person- both disfiguring- and requiring extensive recovery.
For joint repair/replacement surgery, a surgical robot works under the direction of the surgeon, who thanks to CT scans and/or MRI imaging, has preprogrammed into the device the safe parameters for the planned procedure (Knee, Hip, Shoulder, etc.). The robot allows the surgeon to remove bone up until the programmed points, effectively assisting the surgeon in making a more accurate foundation for replacement joints or partial joints. Another benefit is that important tissue (tendons) is protected, when programmed correctly. The robotic system assists in the placement of the replacement implants.
Dental robotics work in a similar way, helping Dental Surgeons to repair damaged or missing teeth with accurate implants.
Single port surgery is now being used for many internal procedures- and more devices being developed- which use only one incision for multiple robotic tools. New robotic tools are able to probe deep into the lungs, making a minimally invasive procedure easier and safer.
Many of the world's largest tech companies are working on new devices and procedures. Expect to hear news of newer, more capable devices in the near future.
Last updated on: March 31, 2020, 6:47 pm
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