Using Robotics in Surgical Procedures

Robotic Surgery: Not Science Fiction Anymore

Several years ago, some medical scientists began experimenting using robots to perform some extremely delicate surgical procedures with considerable success. Two strong reasons support the wider use of robots in surgery: sensitivity and distance.

More Sensitive Surgeons

Unlike human hands, machines possess the ability to measure the pressures applied in holding instruments precisely and objectively. A machine can perform the same repetitive task reliably repeatedly. This feature offers great value in the performance of some very intricate surgical procedures. Even an extremely talented human surgeon wielding a scalpel may suffer an accidental slip, a misdirection of millimeters that nicks a blood vessel or bruises a sensitive adjoining tissue during a critical surgery. A robotic arm guided by an effective imaging program and a trained human surgeon sitting at the controls won't make those inadvertent mistakes. In fact, the robotic system may enable the surgeon to visualize the entire operating field much better than more traditional operating venues permit. Human beings cannot see through tissues, but robots guided by sophisticated imaging systems do possess this ability.

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Already, some surgeries have occurred at a distance. Surgeons sitting at a computer manipulate controls on a robotic device located hundreds of miles away to perform delicate and exacting operations with precision. This process holds the promise of enabling the completion of procedures remotely in locations which would not otherwise enjoy ready access to the skill sets of surgical specialists. In the future, robot-assisted surgeries and rapidly advancing medical software programs may assist people in distant parts of the world in obtaining high quality of medical care.

Telemedicine to Telesurgery

Already, the science of diagnosis at a distance using the Internet regularly permits practitioners in rural areas to obtain advice from medical specialists during the evaluations of radiographs (popularly known as "X-ray films"), for instance. The expansion of robotic technology may bring additional surgical services within the scope of this form of consultation. As medical records increasingly become highly portable electronic files, the ease of long distance communication between generalists and surgical specialists promises to increase even further.

Robotic Surgeries And Changing Medical Markets

Perhaps in the future, significant industry disruptions and restructuring will occur within many medical fields as a result of the development of sophisticated surgical technologies. This process will likely transform the way people around the world think about medicine.