Join the club for FREE to access the whole archive and other member benefits.

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.


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.


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


Company designing and developing SPORT single-port robotic surgical system for minimally invasive surgery (MIS)


Company focused on developing an advanced, miniaturized robot for general surgery abdominal procedures, such as colon resections


Minimally invasive surgery medical device technology that provides high dexterity.


Company developing and production orthopedic surgery navigation and positioning robots.


Driving Innovation in Surgical Robotics.


Medical equipment manufacturer in Santa Clara, California.

Robotic Surgery

Online Webinar about Robotic surgery with surgeon Venkata RM Kusuma


Ethicon is manufacturing surgical sutures and wound closure devices.


Robotic surgical system.


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

More Robotic Surgery resources

Recent News

The worlds first robotic needle free dosage delivery in humans

Interesting Engineering - 08-Nov-2021

Novel needle free technology releases vaccine content with high-pressure


Robotic surgery system recalled due to software bug affecting instrument positioning

FierceBiotech - 01-Nov-2021

Only 3 reported incidents but risk of serious injury is high with platform designed for neurosurgery


FDA warns robotic surgery for breast cancer is unproven and could pose health risks

pharmaphorum - 22-Aug-2021

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


Robotic surgery is no better than traditional surgery, unless performed by skilled surgeons

Forbes - 17-Aug-2021

Despite huge benefits, robot-assisted surgery may increase complications - finds new study


Medtronic's Hugo robot performed first-ever minimally invasive surgery in Chile

FierceBiotech - 22-Jun-2021

Low-cost, compact robot to help surgeons - yet to receive approval in the US and Europe

More Robotic Surgery News