robotic system

Despite costing $1.5 million per unit, the Da Vinci robotic system is turning heads in hospitals across America. The addition of robotic systems in operating rooms promises more precise surgeries, less damage to the surrounding tissues, smaller incisions, less blood loss, less risk of surgeon fatigue and quicker recovery times. While intelligent robots are far from executing their own surgeries, using autonomous robots and robotic arms as assistants is revolutionizing medical science.

The Da Vinci Surgical System is a groundbreaking innovation that’s garnered much attention by media and surgeons alike over the past decade. Ideally, these new robots will be used in delicate surgeries like heart valve/artery surgery, brain surgery and cancer removal. Telesurgical robotic systems consist of two components; one is a computerized tele-micromanipulator, the other a surgical unit containing three robotic arms. At the start of the surgery, four keyhole-sized incisions are made as entry-points. Down one incision will be the endoscopic camera, which is attached to a fiber-optic cable. The remaining ports will carry tiny surgical tools, which rotate and maneuver using flexible robot wrists. The surgeon sits at a console, watching the 3-D images from the camera and making the necessary motions to perform the surgery, which the robotic system then mimics with much more precision and accuracy.

Robotic systems can benefit surgeons for a number of reasons. First, machines can be extremely precise and nearly infallible, which means less trauma for the patient. Even the most dexterous hand can suffer from fatigue, muscle cramps, shakiness or a slip-up from time to time. Also, the range of motion is limited for human beings, whereas the robotic hand can move in a 360 degree circle, bending every which way it is needed. Secondly, robots allow for minimally invasive procedures, which equates to quicker recovery times. In the past, doctors had to open up a person’s chest to reach difficult areas like the heart ventricle. Now, a mobile robot arm can reach inside with flexible tubes to bend around obstacles and reach the precise location it needs, all within a keyhole-sized insertion.

“I haven’t felt this great in years. I was at a Christmas party last night talking to a woman about my procedure and how it was the best thing I had ever done,” said one woman who recently had a surgery that involved robotic systems. The 49-year-old public accountant’s uterus had become laden with tumors that were too large to be removed by conventional methods, which prevented her from canoeing, biking and playing volleyball. AAMC Surgeon Dr. Paula Radon used a morcellator to cut down the benign tumor tissue until it was removable by trocar. The woman said the surgery changed her life, which shows that robots have their place in medicine.

Be Sociable, Share!