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Robotic Surgery

We’re a long way from robots automating surgery as much as they automate other industries such as manufacturing. However, there is a clear path to this futuristic end:

  • 100% human controlled robotic device – this is where we are at the moment, complex surgical instruments rather than robots (e.g. Da Vinci).
  • Restricted human controlled robotic device – where the surgeon can specify limits to movements, in advance, to avoid accidental damage (e.g. THINK Surgical).
  • Automation of standard parts of surgical procedures – for example, making incisions and sewing up (see below).
  • Controlled autonomous robot surgery – medical team provides high-level plan for robot to follow, with human approval needed at each stage of the process. However, with telesurgery, the team may be remote (e.g. a different country) to the patient.
  • Supervised autonomous robot surgery – humans will still provide supervision with a hand poised over a big red emergency stop button. Eventually, we will have to get rid of the emergency button too as there won’t be any human surgeons to take any corrective action.

The end result may appear challenging, but each step feeds into the next – providing data for future AI systems to learn from.

Although, currently, there may not be a cost-benefit to using robotic systems, as with all technology the prices will come down. And as we progress to the later stages of automation then the savings (e.g. of training surgeons whose skills are lost when they retire) will make most operations affordable to all.

Automation

Although to the patient an operation may be a life changing experience, some procedures are very much routine and performed by a surgeon many times each day. The less unique patient-unique parts of these operations are already the target of new companies – for example, the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) uses 3D infra-red imaging to outperform experts making surgical incisions, resulting in less damage to the surrounding tissue, and can also accurately sew a wound back up.

See also nanobots information and telemedicine news in digital health.

Resources

Tap on icon for description, click on resource name for more details.

Company

Minimally invasive surgery medical device technology that provides high dexterity.

Company

Company developing and production orthopedic surgery navigation and positioning robots.

Company

Driving Innovation in Surgical Robotics.

Company

Medical equipment manufacturer in Santa Clara, California.

Event
Robotic Surgery
12-Nov-2020

Online Webinar about Robotic surgery with surgeon Venkata RM Kusuma

Company

Ethicon is manufacturing surgical sutures and wound closure devices.

Product

Robotic surgical system.

Company

Medtech is a French company that designs and sales a new generation of surgical robots.

Company

Medical robotics company for eye surgery.

Company

Digital laparoscopy and surgical robotics manufacturing company.

More Robotic Surgery resources

Recent News

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Prior study approval and monitoring long-term outcomes are needed to ensure patient's safety

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Encoded data from surgical procedures by robotic arm on a glass platter

iNews - 31-May-2021

Storing data on glass platters could improve the outcome of surgeries

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