The rise of robotic surgery
We are more than 170 years past the introduction of ether as anesthesia and the surgical landscape continues evolving. Over the past two decades the use of robotics for minimally invasive surgery has been gaining traction.
“Robotic surgery has been in market for almost 2 decades for specialties such as urology and gynecology and has gained popularity with general surgery in the last 10 years,” says Dr. Nikesh Lath, a general surgeon at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, IL, who performs various procedures robotically including hernia repairs, gallbladder removal, colectomies and bowel resections. We asked him about the rise in robotic use, its advantages and what he is looking forward to in terms of future developments.
“There are some basic robotic advantages that can be applied to most specialties currently using it. Robotic technology offers more dexterity allowing more complex procedures to be done via smaller incisions,” Dr. Lath says.” These smaller incisions translate to less pain and less discomfort [for the patient] with faster post-operative recovery.”
While various reports highlight the advantages of minimally invasive procedures over open surgeries, how does it compare to laparoscopic surgery?
“[The robot] gives a 3-dimensional, higher resolution visibility to the operating surgeon,” Dr. Lath says. “Standard laparoscopic instruments do have wristed instruments and 3-dimension vision. It also offers better ergonomics for the surgeon.”
According the Lath, the most limiting factor for use of robotics is the high cost. Equipment and its maintenance are expensive.
He is optimistic about the future of robotics, though.
“I am looking forward to more advanced cameras allowing enhanced visualization and smarter operating instruments designed to optimize the surgical outcome with lower cost,” Dr. Lath says.
About the Author
Lynn Hutley, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital in central Illinois. Having grown up in a family-owned drug store, it is no surprise that Lynn has spent almost 18 years working in the health care industry. She has a degree in human resources management from Illinois State University and is always ready to tackle Trivia Night.