Robotic Surgery are types of surgical procedures that are done using robotic systems. They allows doctors to perform many types of complex procedures with more precision, flexibility and control than is possible with conventional techniques. It is usually associated with minimally invasive surgery — procedures performed through tiny incisions. In addition, it allows surgeons to be able to view the site better, helping them perform delicate and complex procedures that may have been difficult or impossible with other methods.
The first robotic system to be developed was the Da Vinci Robotic Surgical system which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000. Initially however, this type of surgery was less accepted because the technology used was much more expensive and less efficient at the time. However, in the past decade hospitals have been deciding that it is worth the investment because of the groundbreaking technologies that have been invented to help perform more efficient, minimal invasive type surgeries that is effective in almost every part of the body. The Da Vinci surgical system was a market leader, but other options are emerging. Since some key Da Vinci patents recently expired, other companies are seizing market share. The global market for surgical robots will experience a compound annual growth rate of 10.4%, from $3.9 billion in 2018 to $6.5 billion by 2023. This year, there are 4 main robots/technologies that have emerged that are being or soon will be integrated into hospitals worldwide.
- Preceyes Surgical System– This is a system devised to assist vitreoretinal eye surgery. This robotic system helps assist in these types of eye surgeries as they requires a lot of precision, more than what can be achieved by hand. Using this tech, surgeons manipulate micrometer long metal rods that perform the surgery and improve precision by a factor of 10 to 20. Overall, this system improves on already existing surgery procedures and establishes new surgical possibilities for conditions.
- The CorPath System– This robot allows for surgeons to practice major surgeries in the virtual world(using VR) before there is a patient on the operating table. VR combines with haptics to bring more realism to sessions and help surgeons improve their surgical abilities to ensure that there are no mishaps during the actual procedure. In addition, a major problem for people living in remote areas is getting access to urgent medical care in developed hospitals. This robot addresses that problem opening up possibilities of remote surgery. In a recent case in India, a cardiovascular surgeon performed a 15-minute successful procedure on a patient who was approximately 20 miles away. The doctor used the system to insert a stent into the patient while operating the robot from afar and monitoring the progress on a screen. Surgeons standing by with the patient were available to step in within about 30 seconds in case of an outage. In addition, remotely controlled surgical robots could benefit patients who are too ill to be transported to a location where an expert surgeon is available.
- The Monarch Platform– This is a surgical robotics platform developed to improve on therapeutic and diagnostic bronchioscopic procedures. This technology is the first of its kind as it integrates endoscopes, instruments, navigation, and robotics into a single platform, allowing physicians to better conduct endoscopic interventions. There are several ways to operate these robots but it is mostly done through a remote controller on the outside which directs specific parts to move to certain areas in the bronchial region. It has the ability to serve multiple disease states but right now, the company states that its primary disease target is lung cancer. Its goal is to enable more accurate diagnosis with fewer complications in order to catch lung cancer early, while it is still treatable.
(Doctor navigating through bronchial regions using controller from the outside)
- The Mako Rio- This robot helps doctors perform orthopedic surgeries, specifically in the knee and hip regions. It makes a 3D model of the procedure based on the patient’s CT scan and provides real-time feedback as the surgeons use specialty instruments. The 3D modeling component also allows surgeons to plan each stage of the joint replacement surgery procedure before it happens and then assists surgeons in carrying out that procedure with accuracy. Operations on the hips requires surgeons to carefully place implants inside the patients to help them eventually regain mobility. These implants can also be planned ahead. In addition, this preparation ahead of time allows surgeons to do the surgery in a less invasive manner.
(3-D model depicting where procedure needs to be performed)
These technologies are already being integrated into hospitals worldwide, leading to more efficient, effective, and precise surgeries, making the surgeons’ jobs much easier. Also, because surgeons are always responsible for guiding the surgical robots and specifying what actions they need to take, they don’t have to worry about technology taking over their jobs. These robots cannot function independently but while assisting humans, they can bring about revolutionary changes in surgical procedures. There is a bright future for Robotic Surgery as increasing number of innovative technologies are being invented worldwide.