Information about the Vattikuti Patient Forum:
With the beginning of 2020, the Vattikuti Foundation is pleased to launch a new service on our website. We intend it to be a one-stop solution catering to the needs of the public who might be considering robotic surgery as an option. The Vattikuti Patient Forum is also for those who have undergone robotic surgery and may have questions about their recovery. We invite health and disease-related questions, too. It is all-inclusive, for everyone who would like to know about new technology- any type of surgical robots in the market- or in the incubators. Here are some answers to your basic questions:
What is Robotic Surgery?
Thanks in part to Vattikuti Foundation efforts, 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 title. 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, as noted below.
Image: Vattikuti Foundation file photo
How do robotic tools work?
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 in magnified HD, 3-D vision, manipulating controls, which then actuate the internal tools performing the surgery, ONLY under their direct control. Robotic surgical devices in use today can do NOTHING without a qualified surgeon at the controls! Sometimes larger incisions are needed to remove or replace (transplant) organs, but they are generally much smaller than required for traditional 'Open’ surgery methods. In some cases, single-port surgery is now being done- and more devices are being developed- which use only one incision for multiple robotic tools to enter the body during surgical procedures. Recovery is documented to be faster, complications and post-op infection risk is lower, too.
Image courtesy: Dr. Jai Thilek, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi
Are there any other specialties now using robotic surgery?
Yes, here are some examples:
-For joint repair/replacement surgery, a surgical robot works in conjunction with the surgeon, who, thanks to CT scans and/or MRI imaging, has preprogrammed the safe parameters for the planned procedure (Knee, Hip, Shoulder, etc.). The device allows the surgeon to remove damaged tissue and bone up until the programmed points, avoiding damage to surrounding tendons and tissue, effectively assisting the surgeon in making a more accurate foundation for replacement joints or partial joints. The device also verifies accuracy in the positioning of the replacement implants.
-Dental robotics work in a similar way, helping Oral Surgeons to repair damaged or missing teeth with highly accurate implants.
-Robot Assisted spinal procedures provide the most accurate method for Neurosurgeons to repair damaged spines.
-There are now robotic tools, which are able to probe deep into the lungs, making a minimally invasive procedure easier and safer.
Here is the link to the Patient Forum:
For an historic look back at the story of the Vattikuti Foundation, including the efforts to grow robotic surgery in India, please use this link to this 2012 video: