Does robot surgery sound like something out of science fiction? Don’t worry, robotic surgery was first developed in the late 1980s. These types of surgeries are now tried and tested and are producing great outcomes for patients.

Rest assured that a fully qualified and experienced surgeon is in control at all times. A robot will not perform your surgery!

But the robot allows them an incredible level of precision. They can access hard-to-reach areas. They perform intricate procedures without the need for major incisions.

Join us as we explore everything you need to know about robot surgery and learn how it could benefit you.

What Is Robot Surgery?

Robot surgery allows surgeons to use robotics to control precision instruments. They can perform surgery in inaccessible places through small, quarter-inch incisions. 

There are three main tools surgeons use during robotic surgery:

  • Surgical arms with tiny instruments, controlled by the surgeon
  • 3D camera, that allows a very clear, magnified view of the surgical area
  • Surgical console – the control center from which the surgeon directs the surgery

This allows surgeons to perform minimally invasive surgery for a variety of conditions. 

The surgery is carried out by a fully qualified surgeon who has undergone additional training in robotic surgery. The robot is never the decision-maker. The surgeon is always in control, directing the robot throughout.

The History of Robotic Surgery

Using robots in surgery was first suggested more than 50 years ago. The desire was to develop technology that would allow surgeons to treat battlefield injuries more promptly. 

But it wasn’t until the late 1980s that testing began. The first system was called Robodoc and its inventors were Hap Paul, DVM, and William Bargar, MD.

It was used in prosthetic hip replacement surgery. At the same time, Brian Davis and John Wickham separately developed a urologic robot for prostate surgery.

The first complete robotic surgery system, ZEUS, was released in 1996. This built on laparoscopic (keyhole) surgical techniques. This system included motion scaling and tremor elimination.

Further innovations followed over the next two decades and there are now several systems available with FDA approval. 

Increased Dexterity and Range of Motion

Over the years, the tools used in robotic surgery have become increasingly advanced. This allows surgeons to manipulate them with incredible dexterity. The surgical area is magnified and every movement the surgeon makes is replicated by the robotic arms.

The robot can be configured to move with greater precision than the human hand. For example, by increasing the scale of movement to 3 to 1, the robotic arm will move 1 inch for every 3 inches the surgeon moves. This makes the procedure extremely well-controlled and precise.

Reduces Surgeon Fatigue

Surgery requires very high levels of concentration on the part of the surgeon and his or her team. Robot surgery is a more comfortable experience for the surgeon.

This is especially true during complex procedures that last for many hours. However, the surgeon is always in the room with the patient, ready to take over from the robot at any time.

However, the surgeon is able to sit comfortably at the surgical console. He or she controls the robot using ergonomically designed controls. They can more easily start alert and focused throughout the entire operation.

This results in better outcomes for patients.

Types of Surgery Using Robotics

Robotic surgery is now used to perform many types of surgery. This includes heart, gastrointestinal, and gynecological surgery. Some common procedures include:

There are many reasons why robotic-assisted surgery is the best option for these common treatments.

Example Procedure: Colon Resection

Colon resection involves removing a section of the colon that has become diseased. This could be due to cancer, diverticulitis, or Crohn’s disease. This surgery can reduce pain and greatly improve the lives of patients with these conditions.

Traditional open surgery involved making a large incision across the patient’s belly. A less invasive alternative was laparoscopic surgery. This involves making smaller incisions to insert a camera and instruments. The surgeon then controls the instruments to perform the surgery.

Robotic colon surgery works similarly but allows the surgeon to control the instruments using robotic arms. It eliminates handshaking errors and reduces blood loss. This means a faster recovery and less scarring.

It is also safer than both open and laparoscopic surgeries.

What To Expect During Robot Surgery

Before surgery begins, you will be given general anesthesia. The surgeon will work from a console that is nearby but will not stand directly over you as in traditional surgery.

The surgeon will begin by making small incisions for the robotic instruments. He or she will then insert the robotic surgical instruments and a thin tube containing the 3D camera.

They will then see a magnified view of the surgical area on the console screen. They will then manipulate the controls and perform the surgery. Once it is over, they will remove the instruments and close up the incision points. 

The Benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery

You will not regret choosing a surgeon who can perform minimally invasive surgery. 

Patients typically experience much less postoperative pain and fewer complications. They spend less time recovering in hospital and their overall recovery time is shorter. Additionally, scarring is kept to a minimum and there is less stress on the immune system.

Choose Robot Surgery for a Speedy Recovery

Robot surgery may have a space-age ring to it, but it’s now one of the best surgery options for most patients. It is a high-precision technique with fewer complications and a faster recovery period. 

At SURGCO, you’ll be in safe hands. Dr. John Valentine, our resident surgeon, has years of experience in robotic surgery.

He’ll take time to explain exactly what will happen. He’ll help you choose the least invasive option so that you can return to your active life as soon as possible.

To learn more, call us at (615) 757-3296 or schedule an appointment online today!