Robotic surgical systems were first developed and introduced in the early 1980s. Initially called robotically-assisted surgery, this technology was designed to expand on minimally-invasive surgical equipment and techniques while enhancing a surgeon’s ability to perform certain procedures, especially those that are more difficult or dangerous to complete using manual methods. Da Vinci robot surgery systems is a well-known brand of equipment in the realm of robotic surgery.
Manufactured by Intuitive Surgical, the Da Vinci robotic surgeon’s console holds surgical tools like scalpels and scissors, along with a 3D camera. These devices are held on robotic arms, which the surgeon can manipulate through a control system. This allows surgery teams to perform procedures through more dynamic angles and higher levels of control.
As of the year 2000, Da Vinci machine surgery has been cleared by the FDA for various surgical procedures, including urologic operations, laparoscopies, hysterectomy operations and other gynecologic surgeries, and non-cardiovascular thoracoscopic surgeries.
What Is Robotic Surgery?
Robotic surgery is a surgical procedure that’s completed or aided with robotic equipment. A surgeon will use a system like a Da Vinci robotic surgery unit to manipulate a camera and surgical tools. Robotic surgery started to become viable in the mid-90s and is now used to aid many different medical operations, including cardiovascular, ophthalmology, gastrointestinal, gynecology, spinal, urology, and transplant procedures.
Although the robotic surgery process varies based on the specifics of the equipment unit, most systems will allow for the control of tools through industrial robotic arms. This may be carried out through a telemanipulator, which enables the surgeon to remotely control surgical tools with intuitive movements that are similar to manual surgery.
Alternatively, robotic surgery may be performed through computer-controlled actions. This means that the surgeon is still controlling the steps of the surgery, but the movement of robotic arms and tools is controlled remotely through software. The major benefits of robotic surgery have included better precision and manipulation of tools. This can make procedures more efficient and consistent, especially those that would otherwise be highly complex and invasive with traditional surgical practices. As a result, patients can experience better recovery, reduced hospital stays, and faster healing.
Are Robot Surgeries Really Better Than Manual Surgery Methods?
There are many advantages of robotic surgery, not only for the surgeon utilizing the system, but for the patient as well. Major robotic surgery advantages have been reported as a more ergonomic, efficient, and consistent process for a surgeon. Better control and more precise access to the surgical site make it possible to perform operations that are less invasive as well as more complex.
Tool manipulation through computer-controller or telemanipulator systems can remedy issues like hand tremor and fatigue. Since robot surgeries use 3D cameras to provide a dynamic view of the surgery site, surgeons can better navigate the procedure. For the patient, this means that pain, blood loss, and healing time are reduced. However, there are some robotic surgery disadvantages compared to traditional methods.
The cost of robotic surgery systems and the necessary training requirements for surgeons mean that cost for the patient is greatly increased. The learning curve associated with this new technology can be time-consuming and lead to complications. Since the surgeon is not making direct contact with the surgical site, instrument manipulation can feel less intuitive, which can amount to flaws in a procedure.
Complications have arisen in cases where robotic surgery systems were used, which included damage to other organs, permanent injury, and the need for re-operation to address problems that occurred during minor procedures. Some patient-targeted marketing of robotic surgery has also been criticized for unsupported claims of benefits and misrepresentation of risk, which has falsely raised expectations of robotic surgery results.