The field of robotics has the potential to radically change how surgery is performed in the 21st century. What was deemed impossible pertaining to robotic surgeries, just twenty years ago, by scientists and the medical community is now common in 2010. The use of robots in medical procedures has been steadily increasing to include prostatic surgery, hip replacement, hysterectomies and mitral valve repair.
The advantages of robotic surgery are astounding. Robots can perform operations with a kind of precision that no matter how skilled the surgeon, just can’t match the fine cuts and accuracy that a robotic arm can perform. Also, less pain and quicker healing time making it easier for the patient. Surgical robots now perform over 200,000 operations per year.
To get an inside view into what goes on with a robotic operation, imagine you are the surgeon in charge, you sit at a computer that contains a full three-dimensional view of the inside of the patient’s body, magnified ten times over. The robots four arms, from across the room, work diligently to carry out with precision the exact instructions that controls on your fingers indicate. The console system filters and performs and then translates the exact movements through the hands of you, the surgeon. Basically, the robotic arms across the room mimics your fingers movements with a corresponding micro movement. The surgeon operates the console, which removes tremors of the surgeon’s hand. Pretty amazing. Many doctors have testified that they can see better and that they have a greater measure of control this way, especially during an open surgery, such as Dr. Jonathon Masel of the Memorial Health System in Pembroke:
“The more complex the procedure, the more I move to the robot. Its 3D optics are just like the movie Avatar.”
Dexterity is optimal and complex procedures are much easier to perform. The drawback is the cost, as the latest model of da Vinci robot is priced around $1.4 million, aside from maintenance costs at around $140,000 per year. It should be noted that European countries with socialized medicine are already using this new robotic system widely.
Robotic use is spreading to the States, with hospitals beginning to capitalize on this relatively new technology. The day is fast approaching where patients might opt for a hospital because it has both a trained surgeon and a robot. The future remains wide open for the field of robotics in medical procedures and will continue to expand to include many more hospitals electing to adopt this advanced technology.