AI Robotic Assisted Surgery Pushes Boundaries in Healthcare
By Janet Sawari  |  Jul 26, 2021
AI Robotic Assisted Surgery Pushes Boundaries in Healthcare
Image courtesy of and under license from Shutterstock.com
In the past it would have been considered radical to even consider the idea of a machine participating in complicated surgical procedures. The reality is that surgical robots simply assist a surgeon to operate with greater precision. The surgeon’s team then closely monitors and assists the robot throughout the entire procedure and at no point will the robot gain full autonomy or control.

JOHANNESBERG - Robots in hospital theaters have become commonplace over the past decade as have rave reviews from patients and doctors for the efficiency of robotic assisted surgery.

In the past it would have been considered extreme, risky and radical to even consider the idea of a machine participating in such complicated surgical procedures. But the reality is that surgical robots simply assist surgeons to operate with greater precision, which provides them with more dexterity than conventional laparoscopyand enhances flexibility in comparison to relying on the limitations of the human eye. And while assisted, may seem an inglorious downgrade from our imagination, robots are carrying out everything from minimally-invasive procedures to open-heart surgery. An example of what that might look like is illustrated in figure 1.0: the surgeon controls mechanical arms seated at a computer console while the robot gives the doctor a three-dimensional magnified view of the surgical site. The surgeon’s team then closely monitors and assists the robot throughout the entire procedure and at no point will the robot gain full autonomy or control.


Invasive Procedure for Open Heart Surgery: Figure 1.0

More recently, fully-autonomous robotic surgery has been discussed in medical robotic communities and preliminary experiments on ex-vivo, tissue from an organism in an external environment, have shown promising results.However, the discussion of autonomy is still in the non-clinical development phase, there is no stable infrastructure in regards to regulation and extensive testing to support commercialization at the medical front.

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