Robotics in Surgery: A Boon or Bane?

Aug 9, 2018

supply chain analytics

The healthcare industry is gradually transforming itself into an epitome of advanced technology and the wonders it can work. From using superior medical devices for treatment to ensuring better patient care and facilities, healthcare companies are breaking new grounds with each passing year. One such intriguing innovation in healthcare is the incorporation of robotic surgery. Robotic surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery that operates on patients through miniaturized surgical instruments. Though this technology was met with skepticism in the initial days of inception, medical professionals have slowly started contemplating over the brighter side of robotic surgery. But the big question here is ‘is the use of robotics in surgery all set to replace surgeons?’

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Advantages of Robotics in Surgery

Minimally Invasive

One of the major advantages of robotics in surgery is the fact that instead of operating on patients through large incisions, surgeons can now perform operations with minimal incisions, without compromising on the safety. Moreover, tremors in the surgeon’s hands are filtered out by the robotic arms, which eliminates the inadvertent nicks or punctures that can cause bleeding and infections.

Faster Recovery

The human body is more likely to recover faster from robotic surgery primarily due to the minimally invasive methods used. Though the healing process varies from person to person, it has been commonly observed that patients are able to resume normal activities, including working, within several weeks after robotic surgery.

Minimal Blood Loss and Pain

Greater precision and smaller incisions are one of the prime advantages of robotics in surgery as patients tend to experience lesser pain pre and post the surgery. Furthermore, this means that patients will be required to take fewer painkillers in the recovery stage; thus, eliminating the risk of addiction. Robotic surgery also eliminates the need for blood transfusions, which ensures that there is minimal blood loss.

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Lower Chances of Infection

Infections are common in surgical procedures. Infections tend to prolong the recovery process. In this case, since robotic surgery is minimally invasive, the risk of developing an infection is minimal, which also avoids the potential complications associated with infections.

Disadvantages of Robotics in Surgery

High Cost

Robotic surgery is more expensive when compared to the traditional surgery, making it one of the key disadvantages of robotics in surgery. The costs are found to be generally higher due to the cost involved in setting up robotic surgery devices. Furthermore, there is also an additional cost incurred by healthcare companies in the training of a surgeon in using robotics in surgery and the lost time that can be used to operate on patients.

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Possibility of Malfunction

Malfunction and repairs are regarded as one of the prime disadvantages of robotics in surgery. As surgeries are highly risky and sensitive, healthcare companies might have to pay a heavy price in case of any error or malfunction.  However, a replacement robot can be put in place for such a mishap. Also, in such cases, the surgeon can also be trained to take over the robot and continue the operation.

Steep Learning Curve

Surgeons often tend to find the learning curve in robotic surgery to be steeper. On an average, it takes at least hundreds of surgeries for a surgeon to master the use of robotics in surgery. This extra training time can perhaps be better used to train a surgeon’s skill in manual operation.

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