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Robotic Surgery: Pros & cons

Minimally invasive surgeries come as a respite to all those patients who dread the idea of going into a state of unconsciousness after a dose of general anesthesia and being operated upon by a team of doctors who gain access to his or her internal organs through a single large abdominal incision.

The idea of minimally invasive surgeries brings in a cleaner picture with small incisions, less blood loss, and highly efficient surgeon dexterity, which allows quick recovery and less scarring.

It is not a wonder therefore, as more and more hospital records show the popularity of minimally invasive procedures like laparoscopic surgeries.

In recent times, the use of robotic surgery in minimally invasive techniques has come around as a great way to save time and effort in laparoscopic techniques. The technology is called the da Vinci robotic surgery which uses the same technique as in laparoscopic surgery, but is conducted by robotic arms of the da Vinci robot being controlled by the surgeon. The main advantages and limitations of using robotic surgery systems are as follows:

Advantages

In addition to general advantages of laparoscopy procedures like less scarring, less blood loss and reduced recovery time, robotic surgeries add in the following main advantages:

  1. Three Dimensional Visual: The presence of a high performance visual system that holds a three-dimensional camera and projects the images of internal organs in three dimensions is a great factor in improving the efficiency and clarity of the process. The lighting and three-dimensional captures bring in more details to the operation than the laparoscope allowed in manually conducted laparoscopy.
  2.  Better Instrument Manipulation: With the master controls, robotic surgery provides better options to control and manipulate the instruments. The arms are highly accurate in translating the inputs provided by surgeons at the surgeon’s console and therefore, chances of mistakes at any stage of the operation is very low.

Limitations

While it is good to observe that da Vinci robotic surgeries have the potential of delivering complex laparoscopic processes within crisp spans of time, there are a few limitations which the surgeons face while operating existing machines in da Vinci system robotic surgery. They are as follows:

  1. Large Instrument Diameters: The instruments used in robotic surgeries have a larger diameter than the instruments used in manually conducted laparoscopy surgery. The diameter is at an average of 8 millimeter, which is a bulky version of the light laparoscopic instruments.
  2. Limited number of arms: The present models of da Vinci robot have four arms, out of which one carries the three-dimensional camera and the other three are free to be fitted with any of the required endowrist instruments. With a limited number of arms it can become difficult to achieve the smoothness of having and working on multiple incisions manually.

A technology that has brought new hope in high-speed laparoscopic surgeries, robotic surgery equipment are still a far cry from being used in large numbers in hospitals and medical institutions. They have advantages as well as limitations both of which need to be studied to improve the performance and emphasize the promise of using these machines in near future, so that patients get the best benefits.

Robotic surgery has its own set of advantages and limitations. Paying due attention to these details will help us improve the technology and creating a better all round solution for use in robot driven laparoscopy. The article discusses each of these advantages and limitations in detail.

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