Published on Aug 15, 2016
The field of surgery is entering a time of great change, spurred on by remarkable recent advances in surgical and computer technology. Computer-controlled diagnostic instruments have been used in the operating room for years to help provide vital information through ultrasound, computer-aided tomography (CAT), and other imaging technologies.
Only recently have robotic systems made their way into the operating room as dexterity-enhancing surgical assistants and surgical planners, in answer to surgeons' demands for ways to overcome the surgical limitations of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery.
The Robotic surgical system enables surgeons to remove gallbladders and perform other general surgical procedures while seated at a computer console and 3-D video imaging system acrossthe room from the patient. The surgeons operate controls with their hands and fingers to direct a robotically controlled laparoscope. At the end of the laparoscope are advanced, articulating surgical instruments and miniature cameras that allow surgeons to peer into the body and perform the procedures.
Now Imagine : An army ranger is riddled with shrapnel deep behind enemy lines. Diagnostics from wearable sensors signal a physician at a nearby mobile army surgical hospital that his services are needed urgently. The ranger is loaded into an armored vehicle outfitted with a robotic surgery system. Within minutes, he is undergoing surgery performed by the physician, who is seated at a control console 100 kilometers out of harm's way.
The patient is saved. This is the power that the amalgamation of technology and surgical sciences are offering Doctors.
Just as computers revolutionized the latter half of the 20th century, the field of robotics has the potential to equally alter how we live in the 21st century. We've already seen how robots have changed the manufacturing of cars and other consumer goods by streamlining and speeding up the assembly line.
We even have robotic lawn mowers and robotic pets now. And robots have enabled us to see places that humans are not yet able to visit, such as other planets and the depths of the ocean. In the coming decades, we will see robots that have artificial intelligence,coming to resemble the humans that create them. They will eventually become self-aware and conscious, and be able to do anything that a human can. When we talk about robots doing the tasks of humans, we often talk about the future, but the future of Robotic surgery is already here.