In the operation theater (OT), surgeons must always be precise while making incisions or performing other surgical procedures. The repetitive tasks are tiring and challenging. Advancements in AI and collaborative robotics are applied in the medical field to assist surgeons in the OR.
Image source: Flickr.com
What is Robotic Surgery used for?
Robotic surgery is similar to laparoscopic surgery in that they both use small incisions, a camera, and surgical instruments. However, instead of holding and manipulating the surgical instruments during robotic surgery, the surgeon will sit at a computer console and use controls to manipulate the robot. The console allows the surgeon to view high-definition, magnified 3D images with increased accuracy and vision inside the body.
Is Robotic Surgery better than Regular Surgery?
Compared to traditional surgery, robotic surgery provides the surgeon with a greater range of motion and precision, which may lead to less bleeding and post-operative pain. Robotic surgery allows all laparoscopists to perform advanced laparoscopic procedures with greater ease. The potential advantages of surgical robotic systems include making advanced laparoscopic surgical procedures accessible to surgeons who do not have advanced video endoscopic training and broadening the scope of surgical procedures that can be performed using the laparoscopic method. Robotic surgery is using small robots to do the surgery using smaller incisions on the body than normally would be used in open surgery. Robotic surgery is one of the tools available today to do Minimal Access Surgery otherwise known as MAS.
Types of surgical robots for laparoscopic surgery
Surgical robots for laparoscopic surgery can be classified into
The master controller device is manipulated by a surgeon to control a robotic arm. Using a system like this, a surgeon can sit or stand at a console, rather than hunch over the patient, reducing strain on the back and shoulders. The robot has a 4-DOF (Degree Of Freedom) arm outside the abdominal cavity and a 2-DOF wrist joint at the tip. The robots enable telesurgery via network and microsurgery by changing the motion scale between the master and the slave. Open consoles, lighter instruments, less invasiveness, and greater portability are a few of the important features. However, this has a few drawbacks like lack of haptic (touch) technology, consuming large space for consoler, and high operating and maintenance cost.
Examples of master-slave surgical robots:
Intuitive Surgical da Vinci Xi- USA
Meere Revo- Korea
RiverField- Japan (Under development)
EndoMaster- Singapore (Clinical trial)
Hand-held robotic forceps
Future challenges for surgical robots:
Compact and inexpensive
Haptic feedback to the operator
Single-Port Access surgery (SPA)
Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES)
Applications of augmented reality
Automation of surgical tasks
Cyber-physical systems coupled with robots
Benefits of the robotic laparoscopic approach:
Easier access to inaccessible surgical sites
Shorter hospital stays
Decreased postoperative pain
Rapid return to preoperative activity
Decreased postoperative ileus
Medical Device Network [Website]
A Amodeo, Linares Q, et al; Robotic laparoscopic surgery: cost and training, Minerva Urol Nefrol, 2009 Jun;61(2):121-8. [PubMed]
Association for Advancing Robotics [Website]
Kawashima, K., Kanno, T. & Tadano, K. Robots in laparoscopic surgery: current and future status. BMC Biomed eng 1, 12 (2019). DOI: 10.1186/s42490-019-0012-1