Dr Deepak Varma Gastro Surgeon Cochin

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Robotic Surgery

Robotic Surgery, sometimes also known as robot-assisted surgery, allows the doctors to perform different types of procedures which could be too complex in reality. This allows more flexibility, precision and control than what would be possible with the conventional techniques. Robotic surgery is generally associated with the minimally invasive surgery. This means the procedures are performed with very small incisions. Sometimes these methods are also used in the traditional open surgical procedures.

What is Robotic Surgery and how it came into being?

The robotic surgery techniques with the da Vinci Surgical System was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000. Since then, the technique has been received very well and has been adopted by the hospitals all around the world. It is currently being employed in treating a multitude of different conditions.

The clinical robotic surgical system that is most widely used includes mechanical arms (with surgical instruments attached) and a camera arm. The surgeon uses a computer console near the operating table to control the arms. A high-definition, magnified and 3-D view of the surgical site is offered to the surgeon by this console. There is a team of other members who assist during the operation.

What are the advantages of the robotic surgery technique?

It has been found from practice by many surgeons that the robotic surgery system enhances the flexibility, precision and the overall control during the operation. With the help of these advanced tools, the surgeon is better disposed to take care of the operation. A better sight is offered than that with the traditional techniques. Surgeons can perform complex and delicate procedures using this method that had been thoroughly difficult or impossible to perform in the earlier days. Also, the robotic surgery makes the entire procedure minimally invasive.

Thus the benefits associated with the minimally invasive surgery include:

  • Quicker recovery
  • Fewer complications, like an infection at the surgical site
  • Smaller and far less noticeable scars
  • Less pain and loss of blood

What are the risks associated with robotic surgery?

All surgical procedures involve some sort of risk and it is the same with robotic surgeries. Complications, like damage to the adjacent tissues, a greater amount of blood loss through the injuries to the adjacent blood vessels or an infection in the surgical site, can arise. Robotic surgery involves the same risks that are associated with the conventional surgical procedures. But since the surgeon has a better control over the equipment and can see the surgical site in a much better way, thanks to the improved camera technologies today, the risks are much less compared to the traditional procedures.

Is robotic surgery the right choice for you?
Although it is a wonderful technique to be used, the option is not for everyone. You should have a conversation with your doctor about the benefits and the risks that are associated with robotic surgery in your case and how it would compare to the other techniques, i.e. the other types of minimally invasive surgery and the conventional open surgery techniques.

With developments in technology, the benefits of Robotic Surgery would get better. You should definitely find out if you can benefit from it.

Authored by Dr. Deepak Varma, MBBS, MS (General Surgery)

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