There’s no doubt that healthcare has moved beyond the traditional forms of treatment. Over the past century, and especially as a fallout from Covid-19, technological advancements in the space have led to a whole host of innovations gracing the healthcare scene – with robo-surgeons being one of them. Sounding somewhat like they’re from a Sci-fi film, robotic surgeons are literally transforming the way procedures are conducted. The operational efficiencies and risk reduction granted by robotic surgery has become clear, and the advantages this technology provides to doctors and patients alike are abundant.
Having already performed thousands of successful surgeries across the globe, robots seem set to be the physicians of the future.
Robotic Surgery: The Ins And Outs
The field is constantly evolving, with the use of surgical robotics in general procedures such as gastrectomy, hernia repair, bariatric surgery and transoral surgery, on the rise. In fact, almost 90% of prostate cancer surgeries are now done robotically.
Robotic surgery is usually associated with minimally invasive or ‘laparoscopic’ procedures – procedures that are performed through tiny incisions. The most widely used clinical system is the ‘da Vinci Surgical System’, which involves a camera arm and mechanical arms with surgical equipment attached to them that the surgeon controls through a computer console. The robot then translates the actions of the surgeon’s hand, wrist, and finger movements to guide each arm and instrument in real-time, after scaling each movement down to size.
Scaling down the movements through a console gives the surgeon a super magnified, HD and 3-D view of the surgery, allowing for extraordinary surgical precision and operative control when performing delicate and complex procedures. The integration of technologies such as data analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and other spatial computing technologies even enables surgeons to see real-time blood flow and avoid tissue damage while operating.
The Robotic Surgery Market
Currently, robotic procedures only make up around 2% of all procedures. But technological advancements, increased production capacity, and improved connectivity are giving a boost to the surgical phenomenon globally. Subsequently, the global medical robots market is estimated to reach $12.7 billion by 2027 from an estimated $5.9 billion in 2020.
Some of the various factors driving the growth of the industry are rising cancer patients, a shortage of surgeons, an increasing geriatric population, favourable reimbursement policies, growing personal healthcare expenditures, and a rising number of infectious and chronic diseases. Given the current pace of the industry, in a few decades, surgeons may not be present in the operating room at all during a procedure, a reality which could save the lives of thousands in rural hospitals.
The Advantages of Robo-Surgeons:
Robo-surgeons are ample with benefits for both patients and doctors. For surgeons, robotic surgery allows them to perform various types of complex procedures with more precision, control, and flexibility than is possible with conventional techniques. Subsequent to robotic surgery being less invasive and more precise, the advantages for patients are copious.
Robotic surgery is an enormous step forward for patient care, with some of the potential advantages for patients including:
- Reduced blood loss in the procedure being performed through small incisions
- Fewer complications, such as surgical site infections
- Smaller, less noticeable scars
- A reduced length of time in hospital following surgery
- A faster return to functional status
- Potential significant reduction in pain and trauma
- In many cases, greater clinical outcomes
For the surgeons who use these robotic systems, advantages consist of:
- Enhanced precision, flexibility and control during procedures
- Greater visibility of the site of surgery
- Improved visual field
- Access to hard-to-reach areas
- Enhanced dexterity
- Reduced strain on the operator and thus the risk for fatigue-related procedural errors
The addition of robotic technology in surgical procedures is proving to be a safe and effective alternative to conventional surgeries, with many professionals championing this future of surgical delivery:
“From my personal experience as a cardiothoracic surgeon, having performed over 1,400 robotic cardiothoracic surgeries, I can say that robotic surgery is more efficient and results in better patient outcomes.”
Dr Sudhir Srivasatava, Founder, SS Innovations
With the surgical world widely embracing this new technology, and the benefits of robotic-assisted surgery being clear, this modern age physician seems set to remain and develop into healthcare systems worldwide.
At Storm3, we have a wide talent pool of specialists in surgical robotics. If you’re looking to expand your team, or for advice on how to scale successfully, get in touch! Our consultants are best placed for helping you find the best senior talent within the space. Alternatively, take a look at the verticals we serve within surgical robotics here.