Remote Surgery

Robotic surgery is one of the fastest growing parts of the robotics industry.

Now surgeons are very skeptical and rightly so of many of the claims that are being made on webpages of what robots can currently do.

So here we will talk about what is claimed to be possible now and certainly at some point there will be no dispute of what can be done at least for routine surgeries.

Elon Musk is planning to make his implanting of neural links using robots in the future very similar and smooth going as the way the Lasik eye surgery business has gone in the last 10 or so years.

There are currently companies on the internet with products that can do hair implants and other proceudres where multiple small incisions to a patient must be made for some reason.

The benefit of a robot is mainly that the robot arm once trained, could make super specific and accurage incisions on a patient which may not be possible without the absolute best surgeon with the steadiest hand, perfect vision and absolutely no distractions or possibility of being human and having a less than ideal surgical day.

But lets move on with the assumption that robot surgery will improve over the next few years and that many lives will be made better or saved by the use of remote surgery using robots

Now for minimally invasive surgery there are two options to use robotics, either the robot assisted surgery where the doctor is present in the room with the patient and robotic surgery where generally the operation is done remotely where the patient and doctor are not in the same room.

So basically with robotic assisted surgery the doctor will usually be near the patient

Many procedures are done better with a robotic surgery because of the precision, control and flexibility of a robot arm.

One of the first operating room robots to be used in the USA was called the Da Vinci robot and was approved by the FDA in the year 2000 to perform laparoscopic procedures. There was also a robot called the Puma 560 which did some brain biopsies in 1985 in the USA.

Some critics of robotic surgery suggested that the human hand or wrist has 7 dof whereas most robotic surgery arms of the early 1990s had only 4 which limited the ability to access certain surgical techniques

The Da Vinci robot had multiple robotic arms and was able to achieve the needed 7dof of the manipulator arm.

Dr Thomas gives an extremely well written account of medical robotics on this page