In many industries, the advance of robotics has created worries about robots supplanting humans. But in the world of surgery, the next generation of robotics is set to do the opposite—to supercharge the surgeon and put him in control as never before.
Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci system defined the first generation of general surgical robotics. It promised a revolution in surgery and is today used for hundreds of thousands of procedures annually. The da Vinci System “is powered by robotic technology that allows the surgeon’s hand movements to be translated into smaller, precise movements of tiny instruments inside the patient’s body,” according to the company. The surgeon is provided with a high-definition, 3D window on the operative world through a laparoscope also operated by one of the robot’s arms. Characteristics of first-generation robotic surgery systems include the large size and physical dominance of the operating room, the placing of the surgeon into a console outside the sterile field, and surgeons receiving feedback limited mostly to visual cues on-screen.
Image Credit: Intuitive Surgical