Medical Robotics Magazine

The first and only commercial feature medical robotics news magazine, founded February 2007 by John J. Otrompke, JD, consultant and publisher


Medical Robotics Magazine is the world's first and only commercial feature news magazine devoted to all aspect of the medical robotics industry- including robotic surgery, physical therapy robots, hospital orderlies, and other topics related to robotic medicine. As a feature magazine, Medical Robotics features interviews, business news, conference coverage and editorials, as well as a generous portion of articles written by noteworthy robotics surgeons as well as clinical trials reports. MR has been on-line since 2007, and first appeared in print in January of 2008 at the annual meeting of MIRA (the Minimally Invasive Robotics Association) in Rome, Italy. Medical Robotics Magazine is copyrighted, features a nascent Board of Editorial Advisors, and is indexed by the U.S. Library of Congress. All contents (c) 2011 John J. Otrompke, JD Contact: John J. Otrompke, JD 646-730-0179

Monday, August 8, 2011

Robotic Surgery: Where it’s Been and Where it’s Going

Commercially-Sponsored Supplement

The use of robotic instruments in surgery was first documented in 1985. Over the years, surgeons have found that the technology offers greater precision in their work, and frequently benefits patients with shortened recovery times and reduced risk of infection because they can be used in a less invasive manner. The science behind these instruments has evolved considerably. Here’s a look at how far robotic surgery has come, and some thoughts about robotic surgery in the future.
AESOP and the da Vinci Surgery System
In 1990, the AESOP surgical system became the first approved by the FDA to be allowed in an endoscopic procedure. The robotic arm was controlled by voice commands to help maneuver a camera. Robotics took another big step in 2000, when the FDA approved the da Vinci Surgery System for use in general laparoscopic surgery. The prototype was designed by the United States military, which hoped surgeons would be able to operate on wounded soldiers without being placed in harm’s way, themselves. However, because the da Vinci system wasn’t very portable, this original goal was abandoned. 
A private company later purchased the technology and adapted it to suit robotic surgery as we know it today. da Vinci surgical system procedures were different. The robot’s smaller surgical arms and “Endo-wrist” feature gave the surgeon greater dexterity, improved accuracy, and made operations easier on the patient. Additionally, a three-dimensional magnification screen offered greater visibility during an operation.
Perception from the Public and Medical Professionals
As robots have gained a stronger foothold on the medical industry, both surgeons and the public have been drawn to their applications, and particularly the idea of less invasive surgery, which may shorten recovery periods. The list of operations for which robots are used is growing, but the cost of undergoing these operations is pricier than the more traditional counterpart.  
The Future
Because technology can change so rapidly, it’s possible that many unanswered questions about robotics in surgery will be answered with time, and that many new questions will arise. In 2004, a study published by the National Institutes of Health noted that training requirements, issues of medical malpractice liability, training, and other credentialing requirements will remain prominent aspects of robotic surgery which must be addressed.
However, the study also recognized that robotics have tremendous potential to continue revolutionizing surgery. Indeed, the public’s interest in minimally-invasive surgery has increased demand for these instruments, driving medical facilities to acquire this technology and remain competitive in the marketplace. Not only will researchers continue refining the procedures they conduct, and further advances in the technology will help solidify the role robots place in surgery in the future.

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