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Should surgical robots replace human surgeons?: Here is what the Experts say..

by Paulite
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Robot surgery. Da Vinci the robot surgeon performs minimally invasive surgery (MIS) on a patient's heart. The surgical tools are on the ends of the robot arms. These are controlled remotely by a surgeon who views a live three-dimensional image of the operation site from an endoscope on one of the robot arms. MIS excludes the large open incisions associated with classical surgery, reducing pain, convalescence period and the risk of infection. The da Vinci system allows precise control of surgical tools through incisions just 1cm wide, with greater control than manual MIS procedures. Da Vinci was designed by Intuitive Surgical Incorporated, based in California, USA.

Surgical robots are suitable for complicated surgery but they would not replace human surgeons any time soon, said experts present at the bi-annual Robotic Surgeons Council (RSC meet), initiated by the Vattikuti Foundation, a US-based non-profit organisation.

A Surgical Robot is especially suitable for complicated surgeries and situations needing reconstruction of body parts as it leads to significantly lower complications, readmissions and mortality as compared to traditional open surgery.

Experts allayed fears that a surgical robot may some day replace surgeons, saying that robots will not replace a surgeon anytime soon because a surgeon’s experience and surgical judgment cannot be replicated by a machine.

Today, nearly 500 robotic surgeries are conducted every month in India, ranging from removal of cancerous tissues to reconstruction of organs damaged by cancer as well as the removal of organs such as the kidney, liver, pancreas, thyroid, prostrate, and uterus.

A Surgical Robot scores over conventional modes of surgery as it leads to minimal blood loss, quick healing and less pain, leading to shorter hospital stays. Surgical Robots are being used in almost all specialties involving soft body tissues.

“Surgical Robots are changing the method of accessing the interiors of the body by unambiguously identifying and removing cancerous cells and retaining good cells,” said Catherine Mohr, Vice President for Strategy Intuitive Surgical Inc at the event.

“At this year’s RSC we brought in more experts in the emerging areas for Robotic Surgery — Colorectal, and Head and Neck surgery. Indian surgeons are now devising new techniques for complex robot-assisted surgeries in these areas. Robotic Surgery results in superior patient outcomes,” said Mahendra Bhandari, CEO of Vattikuti Foundation.


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