Robotic surgery is a minimally invasive surgery. Robotic surgery has become the standard of care for many conditions. More than 90% of prostate cancer surgeries are now done robotically, and this change has resulted in dramatic improvements in terms of cancer survival. In addition to urologic surgeries, it may be used for colorectal surgery, gynecologic surgery, and general surgeries. Doctors usually use robotic surgery for treating these conditions:
- Adrenalectomy: Removal of the adrenal gland.
- Cholecystectomy: Removal of the gallbladder.
- Bariatric surgery: Reduces the size of the stomach to treat obesity.
- Nissen fundoplication: Treatment for severe heartburn.
- Pyloroplasty: Widens the opening in the lower part of the stomach.
- Colectomy: Removal of the colon.
- Appendectomy: Removal of the appendix.
- Hernia repair: Corrects a bulging of internal organs or tissues.
- Esophagectomy: Removal of the esophagus.
- Thymectomy: Removal of the thymus gland.
- Mediastinal tumor resection: Removal of tumors in the chest cavity.
- Lobectomy: Removal of a part (lobe) of the lung.
What are the advantages of robotic surgery?
The advantages of robotic surgery include:
- Greater surgical precision
- Increased range of motion
- Improved dexterity
- Enhanced visualization
- Better access to the surgical area
- Faster recovery: With minimally invasive procedures, patients can expect shorter hospital stays, allowing patients to recover at home. This tends to speed recovery time.
- Less blood loss: Smaller incisions and more precise surgery can greatly reduce blood loss incidence, eliminating the need for blood transfusions in certain operations.
- Less pain: Because incisions are smaller, they tend to heal faster and are not as painful as larger incisions made in more traditional surgeries.
- Less need for narcotic pain medications: Less pain requires less need to control it. This means patients can minimize the use of pain medications, which is especially important for patients using narcotics.
- Lower risk of infection
- Less scarring
- Lower chances of disturbing other organs
- Less time in the hospital
- Faster return to normal daily activities
- Better clinical outcomes (in many cases)
- A highly magnified, higher-resolution image of the operating field may be much helpful for doctors.
- Instead of being on foot for several hours for a single surgical case, doctors may be able to sit at the robotics computer console throughout the surgery, while maneuvering the robotic technology and performing the operation.
What are the possible disadvantages of robotic surgery?
Below are a few common possible disadvantages of robotic surgery:
- Robotic systems have highly complex software, and it is very difficult to program and debug them.
- Costs, maintenance, and the training of surgeons are considerably high.
- It is highly dependent on the security and reliability of the network, which may be problematic during emergency situations.
- Excess bleeding
- Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
- Damage to nearby organs or structures
- The need to switch to traditional surgery types, such as traditional laparoscopic or open surgery
What is the outlook of robotic surgery?
Robotic technology may bring major changes in surgery by enhancing and expanding laparoscopic procedures, advancing surgical technology, and thus, bringing surgery into the digital age. It possesses the potential to expand surgical treatment beyond the limits of human ability. The benefits of robotic surgery outweigh the costs. Robotic surgery may be at an early stage but this does not mean that it has not demonstrated its potential and significance, particularly in areas that were previously inaccessible by traditional procedures. However, we are yet to see if robotic surgery will completely replace conventional instruments in less technically demanding procedures. Fortunately, robotic surgery using high-resolution cameras is one of the most substantial technological advancements in modern medicine. The robotic surgery space is being transformed by declining costs, due to the rise of technologies like artificial intelligence and better network capability with 5G.