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Robotic Surgery


Robotic Surgery
Robotic surgery allows for control and precision previously unknown to surgeons. Contrary to popular belief, the robot does not operate on the patient alone. It is a ‘slave’ to a human ‘master’, meaning it is not a true robot (these have intelligence and react automatically). The surgeon sits at a console next to the operating table and the robot is placed around the anaesthetised patient. The surgeon looks at a high-definition 3D image provided by the robot’s cameras, and special joysticks are used to control the ultra-fi ne movements of the robotic arms.

This brings many exciting advantages. The camera, previously held by a human being, is now held perfectly still by the robot. The movements and angles that the arms of the machine provide allow for fi ne precision and less damage to adjacent tissues when cutting, leading to reduced pain and a faster recovery.
Robotic Surgery

This has led to very rapid uptake by some specialists, including urologists (who operate on the bladder and kidney), gynaecologists (who operate on the uterus and ovaries) and heart surgeons. As with most technologies, there are downsides to using robots in operations. They are expensive, large, cumbersome to move into place, and remove the important tactile feeling of real tissue between the surgeon’s fingers.
Robotic surgery is considered a step forward from standard keyhole surgery, where the surgeon holds the camera and operating arms. However, early results have shown that there are practically no outcome differences between the two techniques. Combined with higher costs, some surgeons think this means robots are actually inferior to current techniques. This has led to the development of on-going trials, comparing robotic to standard keyhole surgery.
Surgeons around the world are working as a single, giant team to deliver these, and the results will determine the future of medical robots for generations to come.