When you’re considering a surgical procedure, it is always scary, and often a stressful time for all involved. You need someone to take you to get the surgery, someone to help you recover at home, and can’t be working or doing the things that you love the most with your time. To add in being overwhelmed about having the work done, and you can see how quickly this becomes an issue.
The advantages of robot-assisted surgeries are that surgeon-controlled robotic arms provide additional precision and a range of motion beyond what human hands alone can. Additionally, robot-assisted surgeries allow for much smaller incisions and eliminate the need for people’s body cavities to be opened up and exposed. This greatly reduces the trauma to the body as well as the amount of blood loss. Recovery is easier since people do not have to heal a large cut as well as from the removal of their appendix.
A normal procedure might require an eight-inch incision, but a robot-assisted one will involve just a few dime-sized incisions. This reduces scarring, the need for transfusions and the length of recovery and hospital stays. Infection is also less likely, and people tend to experience less pain. Use of robotic arms also means that hand tremors are not an issue. Even the best and most experienced surgeons will experience hand tremors after several hours of surgery, but robot arms are designed to eliminate tremors.
Accuracy is another advantage of these types of surgeries. When a doctor is performing an appendectomy without robotic assistance, they will have to frequently consult a video monitor and look away from what they are doing. However, with robot arms and a video feed, physicians can keep their eyes on the patient at all times. The main potential drawback of robot-assisted surgery is that there is limited or imperfect feedback in terms of tactile sensation. Doctors may not have a total grasp of how much force they are applying when using robot arms, and depth perception may also be lacking. This can lead to doctors either missing diagnostic cues or using too much force when cutting or grasping.
While robot-assisted surgeries are becoming increasingly common, completely robot handled surgeries are still something that is in the distant future. In addition to the fact that the technology is not where it needs to be, although steady improvements are being made, people are still not comfortable leaving an entire medical procedure to a robot.
Robots still need to be monitored during surgeries to ensure that they proceed as they should and that if there are complications, a surgeon is on hand to step in. However, it appears that most people are most comfortable when a doctor is present to oversee a surgery. As technology improves and robot-assisted appendectomies become commonplace, patients are likely to become increasingly comfortable with the idea of robots being responsible for more surgical tasks.