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How medical robotics is helping medics get better health outcomes

Topic: How medical robotics is helping medics get better health outcomes

During the last 100 years, the medical world has witnessed rapid changes. Artificial intelligence enabled computer vision and data analytics have transformed health robotics, expanding capabilities into many other areas of healthcare.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals and clinics began deploying robots for a much wider range of tasks to help reduce exposure to pathogens. It’s become clear that the operational efficiencies and risk reduction provided by health robotics offer value in many areas. Robots are now used not only in clinical settings to support health workers and enhance patient care but also in the operating rooms.

Emerging in the 1980s, the first robot in the medical field offered surgical assistance via robotic arm technologies. Since then, there have been fundamental changes in the way surgery is done. With the advances in robotics and surgical technology, one can now expect a very different surgery experience.

In this process, first laparoscopic surgery made the surgery experience less traumatic for the patient than traditional surgery, and then robotic surgery came as a boon for both doctors and patients. It has become a well-established fact that patients prefer minimally invasive surgery now.

The 1980s saw a revolution in the world of surgery with the advent of laparoscopy. Laparoscopic surgery is performed by making several small incisions on the patient’s body. A camera and small surgical instruments are inserted into the patient’s body. The surgeon can perform the surgery efficiently as he can see the inside of the body. This type of surgery is less painful, and the recovery time is also comparatively less. It further improves the aesthetic outcomes of the major surgery with a comparatively smaller scar as against a long incision scar from open surgery.

Laparoscopic procedures are associated with a wide range of patient benefits; however, many are highly complex and when performed manually, without the assistance of robotics, they can place a huge physical demand on surgeons.

Robotic surgery allows surgeons to perform many types of complex procedures with more precision, flexibility and control than is possible with conventional techniques. Unlike in traditional and laparoscopic surgeries, the surgeon does not hold surgical tools himself. The surgeon controls the arms while seated at a computer console near the operating table. The console gives the surgeon a high-definition, magnified, 3-D view of the surgical site. The surgeon leads other team members who assist during the operation.

Surgeons who use the robotic system find that for many procedures it enhances precision, flexibility and control during the operation and allows them to better see the site, compared with traditional techniques. Using robotic surgery, surgeons can perform delicate and complex procedures that may have been difficult or impossible with other methods. Also, it allows the surgeon to remain seated, minimising the physical strain on the operator and thus the risk for fatigue-related procedural errors.

Because robotic surgery is less invasive and more precise, the advantages for patients are numerous. Since it is performed with just a few small incisions; blood loss during surgery is reduced. There are fewer complications, such as surgical site infection and smaller, less noticeable scars. From a reduced length of time in hospital following surgery and a faster return to functional status to significantly reduced pain and trauma, it’s an enormous step forward for patient care.

Discussed: How medical robotics is helping medics get better health outcomes

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