OCT 16, 2018 9:10 AM PDT

Robots, Good For The Heart

WRITTEN BY: Abbie Arce

The surgeons of today need to rethink their relationship with robots. This is because the field of surgery is rapidly advancing through the development of surgical robotics. Analysts now predict that the sale of these devices will nearly double by 2020 with expected sales totaling around $6.4 billion. In an industry where development is driven by demand, this seems to be good news for improving these evolving surgical tools. Watch as one of these agile machines delicately stitches the skin of a grape.

 

 

The most well-known system is the da Vinci surgical system, which was introduced nearly twenty years ago in 2000. Features of the da Vinci bot include a magnified, 3-D, high-definition vision system and tiny worm-like instruments that can bend and rotate at far greater angles than can the human hand. Because of these features, surgeons can carry out more precise operations than previously thought possible through just a few small incisions. Due to their enhanced precision, there is no doubt that robots will become an important addition to the surgical team.

In cardiology, three types of surgery are now performed regularly using robotic surgery systems. These surgeries are atrial septal defect repair, mitral valve repair, and coronary artery bypass. Some of the benefits of using a robotic system include shorter hospitalization times, reduced pain, faster return to normal activities, smaller incisions, reduced risk of infections, reduced blood loss and minimal scarring. Currently, only a handful of cardiothoracic surgical centers use this robotic technology, which is now in its third generation. It is considered a barrier to implementation that so few surgeries are performed using robotic methods. This is because surgeons need to regularly use the technology if we expect to see improvement in such procedures. Nevertheless, across medical specialties, over 1.75 million robotic procedures have been performed in the last 14 years in the United States and those numbers, especially for standard procedures, are expected to increase.

Despite all the benefits of robotic surgery, it has met some critics, who cite the inflated cost compared to traditional surgery. Compared to surgery-by-hand, a robotic procedure can cost about $2500 more per patient. It is also noted that some surgeries such as those with extremely fragile tissues are still most successfully completed by a well-trained hand. Additionally, robotics has met resistance from surgeons who fear to be, at least in some ways, replaced by the machines. Resistance comes too from patients who are fearful because the technology is fairly new and not fully understood by the general public. That said, patients and doctors alike can rest easy knowing that surgeons are 100% in control of robotic equipment and complication risks are greatly reduced by the use of such technology. It can even be argued that the reduced risk of a robotic procedure can result in fewer costs overall. With fewer infections, the risk of potentially fatal postoperative complications and costs reduced. The surgeries even save precious blood, a resource always in demand.

 

Sources: National Institutes of Health, Journal of The American Heart Association

 

About the Author
  • Abbie is an AFAA certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with an interest in all things health-science. She has recently graduated with her BS in Applied Sport and Exercise Science from Barry University in Miami. Next, she intends to earn an MPH with a focus in Epidemiology.
You May Also Like
MAR 06, 2020
Cardiology
Why Is Good Nutrition Advise So Hard to Come By
MAR 06, 2020
Why Is Good Nutrition Advise So Hard to Come By
Nutrition advice seems to come from everywhere. Exposure to this advice, one is likely to find endless examples of confl ...
MAR 20, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
WHO Says Ibuprofen May Still Work Against COVID-19
MAR 20, 2020
WHO Says Ibuprofen May Still Work Against COVID-19
Since the announcement of a French Health Minister in recent days linking usage of ibuprofen and other non-steroidal ant ...
APR 09, 2020
Health & Medicine
Middle-Aged Women Have Time to Reduce Stroke Risk
APR 09, 2020
Middle-Aged Women Have Time to Reduce Stroke Risk
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), women are generally more likely than men to have a stroke, die from s ...
APR 11, 2020
Cardiology
Cell Transplant Repairs Brain After Stroke
APR 11, 2020
Cell Transplant Repairs Brain After Stroke
Using cell therapy, researchers from Lund University in Sweden have successfully restored mobility and a sense of touch ...
APR 21, 2020
Health & Medicine
How to Read COVID-19 News (Without Going Crazy)
APR 21, 2020
How to Read COVID-19 News (Without Going Crazy)
  It can feel like COVID-19 news is consuming the country, and taking all the toilet paper and N95-masks with it. N ...
MAY 04, 2020
Cardiology
Machine Learning May Help in the Diagnosis of Inherited High Cholesterol
MAY 04, 2020
Machine Learning May Help in the Diagnosis of Inherited High Cholesterol
Familial hypercholesterolemia, or FH, is an inherited genetic mutation in how the body recycles LDL cholesterol (bad cho ...
Loading Comments...