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Robot Assisted Surgery

Robots in Healthcare ...


ROBOTS-The word robot comes from the Czech robotnik, which means "slave." Czech robota means "drudgery" or "servitude". Though the term Robot is relatively new, the idea of Robot or an "artificial worker" is quite old. Can you believe that as early as 1495, Leonardo da Vinci has sketched the design of a mechanical man?

Dictionary defines Robot as, "A mechanical device that sometimes resembles a human and is capable of performing a variety of often complex human tasks on command or by being programmed in advance." Robotics is the "technology dealing with the design, construction, and operation of robots in automation."

The first digital and programmable robot 'Unimate' was invented by George Devol in 1954. Since then robots have replaced humans in doing repetitive, dangerous tasks, or those tasks which humans don't prefer to do or have restriction to do. Also, robots can withstand any type of environment, be it outer space or ocean bottom.

Though robots have already established their place in factories/industries, military, mining and general purpose, their contribution to the healthcare sector is outstanding. Robots have replaced therapist and nursing staff in aiding the disabled, paraplegic and the elderly in performing their everyday tasks. Pharmacies can now dispense thousands of doses of medicines precisely with the help of robots. A very delicate area worth mentioning is robotic surgery.

Robots in Surgery

WHAT & HOW: Robotic surgery or robot-assisted surgery is the method of performing a surgery using very small tools attached to a robotic arm. The surgeon controls the robotic arm with a computer. This is a type of 'minimally invasive' surgery as the patients are operated upon very small incisions. The surgeon makes small incisions on the patient's body through which instruments are inserted. Then an endoscope (a thin tube with a camera at one end) is inserted which gives enlarged 3D view of the inside of the body during the surgery. The robot performs the surgery with the tiny instruments attached to its arms, the movements of which matches the hand movements of the surgeon.

ADVANTAGES: Robotic surgery is similar to laparoscopic surgery performed through an endoscope, but here the surgeon can make precise small movements. He is able to see the area more clearly and so moving the instruments is more comfortably done. The proper design of the console reduces the surgeon's fatigue by keeping his eyes and hands in proper alignment to the surgical site. It is simply superb for a surgeon to achieve such great control in such a minimally-invasive environment.

Due to the plus points of this minimally invasive advanced technique, many complex surgeries are now being carried out in a successful manner in the departments of gynecology, urology, cardio-thoracic, orthopedics, as well as general and radio-surgeries.

From the patient's point of view robotic surgery means, lesser recovery time, less scarring, less pain and bleeding as well as lesser probability of infection compared to conventional open surgery.

DISADVANTAGES: Robotic surgery takes a longer time due to the time required to set the robot. Since the procedure takes a longer time, the patient needs to be under anesthesia for a longer time. Any small miscalculation by the surgeon will result in a great blunder by the machine. Staffing for the procedure is expensive. Improvement in technology may improve the surgeons' expertise and bring down the cost, however, it is thought that the system will become more complicated and hence may cost more. This is a new technology, so efficacy is not yet determined. The large size of the system and the awkward, bulky robotic arms add to the overcrowded operating room. Another disadvantage is that the current operating room instruments and equipment are not totally compatible with the new robotic system.

The field of 'Robotics in Healthcare' is still at an infancy level. Constant upgrading of the system is necessary which is again costly. So, unless there is a widespread multidisciplinary usage, the cost will not be justified. Lots need to be done by the government, industry, and research people. Support to research in this field and awareness programs are the need of the hour.

Watch our video on "Robotic Surgery Demonstration Using Da Vinci Surgical System" below.

Watch the Video: Robotic Surgery Demonstration Using Da Vinci Surgical System

Nelson Mandela: Few things you may not know about him ...



Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in jail for treason. His first treason trial lasted five years from 1956 to 1961. Mandela was found not guilty. Though Mandela rejected violence in his later years, he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe in 1961 which bombed government targets. Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and six others were eventually given a life sentence for treason in 1964 at what is known as the Rivonia Trial. More on trial here.

Disclaimer: The above content is provided for information and awareness purpose only. It is not prescriptive or suggestive or meant to replaces your qualified physician's advice or consultation.