“Paging Dr. Robot:” How Robotic Technology Improves Surgery

Robotic SurgeryScalpels, dressings, and sutures may seem natural in the operating room. But with advances in technology, robotic tools are also becoming more common in surgery.

Not So ‘Sci-Fi’
The word robot may sound straight from science fiction. But real-life robots are a lot more like appliances than fill-ins for doctors. These robots don’t act “on their own” and are always under human control. Robots are especially helpful in minimally invasive surgery. Such operations require a high level of precision because the surgeon is working through smaller incisions.

Robotic surgery systems have special instruments, such as scissors and forceps, which are attached to robotic arms. The surgeon can operate these arms from a remote area that provides a 3-D high definition view of the surgical field. Combined, these features make it easier for doctors to do very delicate procedures with greater precision and dexterity.

A Wide Range of Applications
These days, robots can assist with a wide range of operations. Doctors can use robots for cardiac, colorectal, gynecologic, head and neck, thoracic, and urologic surgical procedures. Some of the most common practices that involve robots include gall-bladder removal, hysterectomy, and prostate removal.  

Research shows that robotic surgery can be safe and effective for many types of operations. In some cases, using robots may even lead to better patient outcomes, such as reduced blood loss and faster recoveries. 

Before performing robotic surgery, surgeons must be specially trained. Patients must also be properly selected. Not everyone may be a candidate for this type of surgery.

What the Future Holds
Robotic systems continue to replace classic surgical operations and interventions. Many experts expect to see an increase in new technologies and robots in the coming years. Specifically, nanotechnology will be incorporated in the next generation of surgical robots--a development that is of great interest to scientists and surgeons.

Meet Tony
Thanks to minimally invasive robotic surgery at Danbury Hospital, Tony had a tumor removed from his heart and was able to make it to his son’s wedding. Read the full story here or watch a video.