Robots: Not Just The Stuff Of Science Fiction
Patient Perspective Question: How have advancements in aerospace technology influenced the medical profession? Answer: New technologies similar to the Canadarm have spurred robotic surgery options.
Robots lend a helping hand
Robotics, or the use of robots, has a place in many industries from manufacturing to space exploration. For years the medical field has increasingly embraced the use of robotics especially in a surgical setting. Robotics has gained popularity as minimally invasive surgery procedures have become more common.
"As robotics are used in minimally invasive surgeries, patients are able to benefit from less pain and scarring, fewer risks of infections, faster healing times, and shorter hospital stays."
Robotics has many uses within the operating room including the popular robotic endoscope, which can be used in procedures such as laparoscopic surgery. A camera is attached to the end of a long tube and inserted into a patient during surgery in order to give surgeons a better look while operating.
Better experiences for all
As robotics are used in minimally invasive surgeries, patients are able to benefit from less pain and scarring, fewer risks of infections, faster healing times, and shorter hospital stays. Surgeons also benefit from the use of robotic technology whether by scaling up or down their movements or reducing the effect of tremors.
“A tremor is a fairly repeatable or known phenomenon and you can filter that out completely so that the tip of the robot is rock solid even if the input is under a certain tremor,” explains James Bolger, Director of Medical Robotics with MDA. “So you can get all the experience that a surgeon has gained over their career and continue to apply it without the concern of tremor.”
The future of robotics
Today most medical robots operate on a pure master-slave robotic system where the operator moves a joystick and the robot responds accordingly.
In a somewhat sci-fi twist, the area of robotics is becoming more automated. According to Bogler, “I think one of the next innovations is going to be in automating certain procedures so that the surgeon doesn’t have to do every single step of a procedure.”
Moving forward, Bogler also expects to see robotics technology incorporate more visual or imaging feedback as well as tactile senses to aid the surgeon.