“Health is wealth,” is one of the most widely recognized sayings worldwide. This is because good health empowers you to pursue anything in life. However, when health falters, modern medicine, healthcare, science, and technology provide effective solutions. In cases where medicines fall short, surgeries become a necessary option. Over the years, robotic surgeries have revolutionized medical procedures, making them more accessible and efficient for all.
Robotic surgery, a transformative force for over three decades, has significantly impacted the field. Statistics indicate that by the end of 2021, there were over 6,730 da Vinci Surgical systems installed across 69 countries. In 2012 alone, more than 10 million minimally invasive robotic surgical procedures were conducted, along with 1.5 million surgical procedures. Stats even state that the market for surgical robots in 2021 was USD 5.16 bn, and by 2030 it will be worth $ 20.98 bn. In this article let’s understand the basics of robotics and the advancements in it.
What is Robotics Surgery?
We have only just begun to explore the potential of robotic surgery potential. Dr. Yulun Wang an entrepreneur and engineer is said to have pioneered the concept of robotic surgery showcasing that
not even the sky is the limit for this. Acknowledging the enormity of surgical procedures is crucial. It’s a high-stakes scenario where precision is paramount – a matter of life and death for the patient. Enter robot-assisted surgery, a marvel that empowers doctors to execute intricate procedures with unparalleled accuracy. This technique entails minimal invasiveness, achieved through minute incisions.
The clinical robotic surgical setup typically comprises a sophisticated mechanical camera and arm, that is manoeuvred by skilled surgeons and physicians. A console gives them a high-definition, magnified view of the surgical site, enhancing their control and precision.
The parts of robotic surgery usually include
- Surgical Console
This is where the surgeon sits. It gives a 3D view of the surgical area. The console has controls (like buttons and pedals) that let the surgeon move the robotic arms and instruments.
- Endoscopic Camera
This camera is put on the robotic arm. It gives a clear and 3D view of the surgical area.
- Robotic Arms
These are like mechanical arms that hold the surgical tools. They can move like a human wrist and hand.
- Vision System
It takes the pictures from the endoscopic camera and shows them on the surgical console.
- Communication Systems
The robot makes sure the surgeon and the team in the operating room can talk in real-time without any problems.
- Robotic cart
This mobile unit is home to computerized components and controls of the robotic surgical system
Benefits of Robotic Surgery
- It provides an enhanced vision of the surgical site.
- Increases precision and accuracy.
- Reduces risks and complications.
- Reduces blood loss as it is minimally invasive.
- Patients usually experience shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery times.
- Patients feel less pain and discomfort.
- Low infection rate.
Advancements in Robotic Surgery
Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR)
This is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable advancements in robotic surgery. Known as the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR), it was developed by a group of researchers at Johns Hopkins University. The standout feature is its ability to autonomously perform a laparoscopic procedure. The driving factors behind STAR’s development include the increasing demand for minimally invasive surgeries, technological advancements, enhanced precision and accuracy, reduced surgical time, minimized patient trauma, greater investment in research and development, and growing awareness of the benefits of robotic-assisted surgeries.
Surgeries in general can be challenging, particularly in gastrointestinal procedures where joining two ends of the intestine is a complex task. However, a vision-guided device jointly developed by researchers at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. has made sewing soft tissue significantly less daunting.
Benefits of Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR):
- Reduces the potential for human error.
- Assists in more complex surgical procedures.
- Increases precision and accuracy.
- Facilitates training and education for surgeons.
- Holds promise for future use in remote surgery.
- Reduces mental and physical stress for surgeons.
- Improves surgical outcomes.
Addressing issues related to the spine and brain requires surgeries that are conducted with the utmost care and diligence. The Renaissance Guidance System by Mazor Robotics offers comprehensive surgical solutions for spinal procedures. These processes are customized to suit each individual patient. This guidance not only leads to quicker results but also enhances accuracy while reducing the likelihood of complications
3. Single-Port Robot System
Designed to provide 360-degree anatomical access, the single-port robot system features three multi-jointed, wristed instruments and a fully articulated 3D HD camera. This allows urologic surgeons to perform procedures through a single incision. The system is equipped with instruments that facilitate the navigation and manipulation of tissues through a single entry point. This cutting-edge technology minimizes patient discomfort, enabling them to return home on the same day.
It excels in assisting with complex procedures, granting surgeons deep access to various urologic surgical interventions such as:
- Nephrectomy (kidney removal) and partial nephrectomy
- Prostatectomy (prostate removal)
- Pyeloplasty/Ureteropelvic Junction (UPJ) obstruction surgery
4. Medtronic Hugo™ Surgical System
Developed by Medtronic, a global leader in medical technology, the Hugo™ Surgical System is an advanced robotic surgical platform created by surgeons, for surgeons. The Medtronic Hugo™ Surgical System represents a significant advancement in robotic-assisted surgery, empowering surgeons with state-of-the-art technology to deliver high-quality care to patients.
It is designed to assist surgeons in performing minimally invasive procedures. By integrating advanced robotics with HD 3D vision technology, the system offers surgeons enhanced visual clarity and precision during surgery. Additionally, it provides tactile feedback to surgeons, allowing them to feel resistance and pressure while using the robotic instruments.
- Modular and Portable Design: The system is modular and portable, providing flexibility in its setup and use.
- Secure and Seamless Video Recording: It offers a secure and seamless video recording option for documentation and analysis of surgical procedures.
- Enhanced Visualization and Instrumentation: The Hugo™ System enhances visualization and provides a range of specialized instruments for precise surgical maneuvers.
- Accessibility and Scalability: The system is designed to be accessible and scalable to accommodate various surgical environments and procedures.
5. Stereotaxis’ Vdrive Robotic Navigation System
In a groundbreaking invention, the Vdrive Robotic Navigation System, in tandem with the Niobe ES magnetic navigation system, assists in guiding medical tools for heart diagnosis and treatment. It enhances precision and steadiness for diagnostic and ablation devices, equipped with special features to improve the quality of treatments. These devices ensure precise and sharp movements, maintain high stability, and enable remote, robotic control of diagnostic equipment.
The da Vinci Surgical System, developed by Intuitive Surgical, Inc., is a cutting-edge technology revolutionizing minimally invasive surgery. This American company specializes in creating and advancing robotic products that enhance patient outcomes through surgical procedures, with the da Vinci System being their flagship innovation.
It’s important to clarify that while the da Vinci System is a sophisticated piece of surgical technology, it doesn’t perform surgeries autonomously. Skilled surgeons operate the system from a console, utilizing da Vinci instruments for precise surgical maneuvers.
The da Vinci Surgical System comprises:
Surgeon Console: This is where surgeons sit to control the instruments. They have a high-definition 3D view of the patient’s anatomy.
Patient Cart: Positioned near the patient, this holds the camera and instruments that the surgeon manipulates from the console.
Vision Cart: It facilitates seamless communication between system components and supports the 3D high-definition vision system.
The da Vinci Surgical System offers a range of models including da Vinci Standard, da Vinci S, da Vinci Si, da Vinci X, da Vinci Xi, and da Vinci SP (Single Port), each tailored to specific surgical needs. These systems have significantly advanced the field of minimally invasive surgery, benefiting patients and surgeons alike.
Anything that benefits human health is poised for a bright future. In the upcoming years, we anticipate even greater advancements in robotic surgery. Awareness of this concept will grow, and it will become widely integrated across various medical specialties. The future of robotic surgery promises increasingly sophisticated technology, expanded applications, enhanced patient outcomes, and greater accessibility for individuals worldwide. This field holds immense potential to revolutionize the approach to numerous surgical procedures, making it an exciting and transformative area of healthcare.