Robotic surgery comprises of a method wherein a surgery is performed with the help of very small tools that are fixed to a robotic arm. The surgeon does not physically operate in a robotic surgery but he controls the movements of the robotic arm via a computer.
During a robotic surgery, after administering general anesthesia to the patient, the surgeon seated in front of a computer makes small incisions on the patient body to insert certain instruments into it. All this is done by the surgeon by controlling the robotic arm in a computerized manner.
The instrument inserted is fitted with a small thin tube with an attached camera at the end of it (endoscope). This endoscope gives the surgeon a complete view (enlarged 3-D images) inside the patient`s body to direct the robotic arms in conducting the surgery. So in a robotic surgery, the robotic arm basically mimics the surgeon’s hand movements to perform the operation.
Robotic surgery is advantageous since like laparoscopic surgery, it can be performed by making smaller cuts than a normal open surgery. Also, the robotic arm ensures maximum precision and can be free of human errors. The robotic arm once placed inside the abdomen, ensures ease of usage of surgical tools than with laparoscopic surgery through an endoscope. It also facilitates the surgeon to get a better and clearer view of the surgical area. Another advantage of robotic surgery is the freedom of movement for the surgeon in the operating theatre.
However, robotic surgery can be more time consuming than a normal one. Setting up the robot prior to the surgery takes up considerable time. This is still an upcoming surgical procedure and many hospitals still did not adapt this method.
Robotic surgery finds use in various different types of surgeries, which include the following:
- Bypass heart surgery
- Certain cancer surgeries in the blood vessels, nerves, or other important and sensitive body organs.
- Removal of gall bladder
- Kidney removal and fresh transplant
- Mitral valve repair
- Pyeloplasty (surgery to correct ureteropelvic junction obstruction)
- Radical prostatectomy
- Radical cystectomy
- Ligation of reproductive tubes
Note: However, robotic surgery is not possible in certain complex surgical procedures.
Its other advantages are explained below:
As the surgical cuts made during a robotic surgery are small, you recover faster during the postoperative period. Smaller incisions also mean lesser bleeding and post surgery pain. Also, smaller surgical openings will have lesser risk of wound infection. Post a robotic surgery; you will be discharged from the hospital faster than in a normal surgery. Last but not the least, your skin will have negligible scars in a robotic surgery.
Disadvantage of robotic surgery:
Computer-assisted robotic arms are very expensive and that is why hospitals are not too keen on their implementation. Furthermore, the surgeons need to undergo proper training for the complete know-how of robotic instruments. When the surgeon starts using the robotics, initially the surgeries might take more time since the surgeons will get accustomed with the new procedure.