What Is Robotic Surgery: Overview, Benefits, and Expected Results
Robotic surgery is an advanced, minimally-invasive surgical procedure that is used to treat a wide range of conditions requiring surgery. During robotic surgery, a computer-guided robot arm is used to perform delicate surgical tasks, such as removing organs or performing intricate suturing. Robotic surgery is often used in situations where traditional open surgery would not be appropriate.
Robotic surgery offers many potential benefits compared to traditional open surgery. In robotic surgery, because of the small size of the surgical instruments, a surgeon can operate in tight spaces and maintain greater control than with open surgery. Additionally, the robot can be operated from a meniscus console, which allows for precision incisions and minimal scarring compared with traditional open surgery. Additionally, robotic surgery has been proven to reduce blood loss and surgical times for many procedures. Lastly, robotic surgery is frequently used in cases where open surgery would be too difficult for the patient due to their condition, or too risky given their age.
Robotic surgery is a form of minimally-invasive surgery where a surgeon uses a computer-guided robot arm to perform delicate surgical procedures. Compared with traditional open surgery, robotic surgery offers several advantages, including greater precision, faster recovery times, and more control for the surgeon.
Robotic surgery is most commonly used in urology, gynecology, general surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, colorectal surgery, and otolaryngologic surgery. Additionally, robotic surgery is also used in the treatment of prostate, bladder, renal, and digestive disorders, among other conditions.
When compared with traditional open surgery, one of the main advantages of robotic surgery is that it requires less tissue trauma and scarring. This means that robotic surgery is often less painful for the patient and allows for a faster recovery time. Additionally, robotic surgery allows surgeons to perform intricate procedures in small spaces, a task that can be difficult or impossible with traditional open surgery.
Benefits of Robotic Surgery
Robotic surgery offers many benefits compared to traditional open surgery.
- Precision: Robotic surgery offers surgeons more precision and control than traditional open surgery, as robotic surgical instruments are smaller than those used for open surgery. Additionally, robotic surgery allows surgeons to make more precise incisions and perform more intricate manipulation tasks.
- Minimally Invasive: Robotic surgery is minimally-invasive, meaning that procedures performed with robotic surgery are not as painful for the patient as traditional open surgery. Additionally, this means that recovery time is often much shorter with robotic surgery than with open surgery.
- Greater Safety: Robotic surgery offers surgeons enhanced patient safety, as the robotic arm is operated from a meniscus console and is far less likely to cause an accidental injury than a human hand. Additionally, robotic surgery often uses significantly less anesthesia and has a lower risk of infection and blood loss than open surgery.
- Accessibility: Robotic surgery is often used in cases where open surgery would be too difficult or risky for the patient due to their age or condition. Additionally, robotic surgery is able to access areas of the body that may be difficult or impossible to reach with open surgery.
Expected Results After Robotic Surgery
The outcomes of a robotic surgery procedure depend on the patient’s individual condition and procedure. In general, however, most patients experience minimal pain, shorter recovery times, fewer complications, and less scarring compared to traditional open surgery. Additionally, as robotic surgery is completed with fewer incisions, patients experience less aesthetic scarring and fewer post-operative complications.
Those who have undergone robotic surgery may experience a reduction in pain, swelling, and inflammation, as well as increased range of motion and a shorter recovery time. Additionally, patients may experience a reduction in pain and discomfort associated with their diagnosis, and may be able to resume normal activities at a more rapid pace than with traditional open surgery.
Robotic surgery is an advanced, minimally-invasive surgical technique that is used to treat a wide range of conditions requiring surgery. During robotic surgery, a computer-guided robot arm is used to perform delicate surgical tasks, such as removing organs or performing intricate suturing. Compared with traditional open surgery, robotic surgery offers several advantages, including greater precision, faster recovery times, and more control for the surgeon. Additionally, robotic surgery also offers greater safety, accessibility, and improved post-operative results when compared to traditional open surgery.
Definition & Overview
Robotic surgery is an FDA-approved surgical technique that uses robotic technology. Also known as robot-assisted or computer-assisted surgery, this innovative technique allows surgeons to perform even the most complex surgeries in a minimally invasive manner and with increased control and precision.
Following its FDA approval in 2000, the technique has since been adopted by a large number of hospitals for the treatment of a wide range of medical problems. This has resulted in the technology’s rapid advancement and introduction of several different robotic surgical systems, with the da Vinci Surgical System currently being the most popular.
Who Should Undergo and Expected Results
Robot-assisted surgery is now widely used in the treatment of a long list of medical conditions, including:
- Cardiothoracic problems, such as:
- Heart disease
- Coronary artery disease
- Mitral valve repair or replacement
- Cancer or tumour
- Lung disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Kidney disease
- Uterine prolapse
- Gastroesophageal reflux
More specifically, the following surgical procedures are now widely performed using the robotic method:
- Kidney removal/transplant
- Organ transplantation
- Colon and rectal surgery, such as tumour removal and colon resection
- Gastrointestinal surgery
- Bariatric surgery
- Orthopaedic surgery, such as joint replacement surgery
- Oesophageal fundoplication
- Heller myotomy
- Lymph node biopsy
- Vascular surgery
- Radical prostatectomy
- Radical cystectomy
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction
- Pyeoloplasty, a surgical procedure used to correct ureteropelvic junction obstruction
This surgical technique is also especially beneficial for patients who suffer from certain conditions that are difficult or impossible to resolve through traditional surgical methods.
Robotic surgery offers greater precision that leads to better results and a reduced risk of complications and errors. As such patients can expect faster recovery time and a significantly lower risk of pain, blood loss, and scarring post-surgery.
How is the Procedure Performed?
There is a large number of robotic surgical systems that are currently in use, with the da Vinci system being the most popular. It is made up of a camera arm, mechanical robotic arms, and an assortment of surgical instruments attached to both arms. The surgeon controls the robot’s arms using controls on a computer, with the robotic arm mimicking the movements of the surgeon’s. To guide the surgeon through the process, the computer produces a magnified 3D view of the surgical site.
In the field orthopaedics, robotic surgical systems that are currently in use include RIO, or the Robotic Arm Interactive Orthopedic System, which uses a combination of robotics, haptics, and navigation system to perform partial and total hip and knee replacements. Other systems used for this specific application include the ROBODOC, the Acrobot Sculptor, the Navio Surgical System, and the CASPAR robot.
Another popular type of robotic surgical system is the CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System, which is mainly used for the treatment of tumours that form on any part of the body. The system works by transmitting high-energy beams from various directions straight into the tumour.
Regardless of what system is used, robotic surgery is performed under general anaesthesia, which means that the patient is asleep throughout the procedure and free from any pain. It involves making small incisions in selected body parts where tiny surgical instruments are inserted. Due to the minute size of the incisions, no sutures are typically required and the recovery period is significantly shortened.
After the procedure, patients are taken to a recovery room where they are closely monitored until the effects of the anaesthesia wear off. In some cases, they may be advised to stay in the hospital for a night or two, depending on their individual conditions. The hospital stay is generally shorter on average compared to the average length of hospitalisation that follows a traditional open surgery.
Possible Risks and Complications
Despite revolutionising the surgical field, robotic surgery is not exempt from risks, which are no different from the ones linked to traditional open surgery.
- Allergic reaction to anaesthesia
- Breathing difficulties
However, patients who undergo robotic surgery face a lower risk of suffering from complications when compared to traditional open surgery patients.
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Shukla PJ., Scherr DS., Milsom JW. “Robot-assisted surgery and health care costs.” N Engl J Med 2010; 363-2174-2176. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1010658#t=article
Lanfranco AR. “Robotic surgery.” National Center for Biotechnology. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1356187/