Are Robots the Future of Surgery?

Robotic surgery was created to assist surgeons with routine, minimally invasive procedures. Robot-assisted surgeries tend to take less time and result in decreased pain for the patient. However, some surgeries, including certain heart surgeries, have remained very invasive, open procedures. Now, more surgeons than ever are able to complete advanced and difficult surgeries with the assistance of robots.

While the first use of robot-assisted surgery occurred in the 1980s, and laparoscopic surgeries have been common for years, the use of robotic technology has ramped up in recent years due to technological advances. The advantages of robotic technology for surgery exist for both the patient and the surgeon. Advanced cameras help surgeons gain greater visibility, robotic arms remove tremors that could cause tissue damage and robotic technology allows for surgery with less cutting. For the patient, this means a shorter recovery and can even mean fewer complications.

The Da Vinci System is one of the most famous robotic surgery systems, offering options for cardiac, gynecological, colorectal, urological, thoracic and general procedures. Other popular robotic surgery systems include Mako by Stryker, NAVIO by Smith & Nephew and Monarch by Auris Health, but each of these systems are more limited in their potential uses than the Da Vinci.

However, while robot-assisted surgery may be the future of many surgical procedures, no robot can replace the role of the surgeon in any procedure. While robots can reduce recovery times and improve outcomes by assisting surgeons with visibility and performing less invasive procedures, the knowledge and craft of doctors is irreplaceable. The future of robotic surgery is promising, but doctors are the future of surgery.

Sources: Yale Medicine, Da Vinci, Britannica

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