Robotic Surgery


Robotic surgery is a misleading term because it implies that the surgery is performed by a robot; nothing could be further from the truth. First things first, robotic surgeries are used nowadays along with traditional surgeries.

In traditional surgery, the surgeon creates a large cut in the body in order to operate; however, robotic surgery is performed with minimal incisions. Tiny equipment and a camera are inserted in the body; the surgeon sees an image of the body on a screen and controls the tiny equipment in there with a computer; similar to playing a video game. It is just another tool in the hands of your surgeon, who makes all the decisions and controls all the movements of the instruments inside your body. Robotic surgery can be used in a number of procedures, such as removing the gallbladder and coronary artery bypass.

Robotic surgeries are remote in essence because the surgeon controls the tiny instruments and does not “directly” operate on the patient. The idea of remote surgeries was first suggested by NASA in the 1970s, arising from the need to operate on astronauts remotely using tiny instruments controlled by surgeons located on Earth. The idea of remote surgery or telesurgery was never fully realized for NASA, but the advances in telecommunication led to what is known as the Lindberg Operation, where two surgeons located in New York City performed an operation on a patient in France. Yet, remote surgeries have not become popular because of time delays between control signals and the operation.

The benefits of robotic surgeries are numerous. Unlike traditional surgeries, robotic surgeries leave patients with minimal blood loss and small scars. Some disadvantages of robotic surgeries include their cost; these surgeries are expensive due to the use of specialized equipment. Another issue of concern is how often hospitals would upgrade their robotic equipment. Although it is rare, the question of what happens during a robotic malfunction while operating is also raised.

Robotic surgeries are in the primary stage; no one knows what the future holds. Thanks to advances in technology, it is not unlikely that robots will be programmed to perform certain procedures with minimal or no supervision at all. I would say future surgeons would be robots; what do you think?



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