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 laparoscopy1 and 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.2 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.
AtThe content herein is subject to copyright by The Yuan. All rights reserved. The content of the services is owned or licensed to The Yuan. The copying or storing of any content for anything other than personal use is expressly prohibited without prior written permission from The Yuan, or the copyright holder identified in the copyright notice contained in the content.