Robotic technology at the service of medicine

Surgical procedures appeared a long time ago. Evidence has been found of the first amputation practices dating back to about 6,900 years before Jesus Christ. The techniques have been developed and improved over time, both in antiquity and in the Middle Ages, in various parts of the world simultaneously.

The appearance of methods of anesthesia, asepsis and specific instruments, has made it possible to treat, precisely, more and more pathologies in a specific and effective way.

Open surgery is a very common technique that consists of opening the abdominal wall through an incision that offers direct access to the abdominal and pelvic organs. We can consider this technique as “invasive”.

Since the end of the 1980s, a new technique initially reserved for exploring the human body has appeared more and more frequently: laparoscopy. This technique, described as “minimally invasive”, allows, through incisions of 5 to 12 millimeters, to insert the necessary instruments to cut, suture and coagulate. A camera guides the surgical procedure.

This evolution arose from the interest of surgeons to limit the ruinous nature of interventions to the maximum, thus allowing to reduce risks of infection, postoperative pain, bleeding and the duration of convalescence.

Although it has many benefits for the patient, this solution is technically more demanding for the professional than open surgery. In fact, the intracorporeal mobility of the instruments is considerably reduced, preventing the surgeon from performing all the desired movements, making his learning very difficult. In addition, pain is frequent in the professional due to the uncomfortable postures to which he is subjected in surgeries, since the procedures can last up to four hours.

It is for this reason that robotic medical assistance appeared in the early 2000s. These remote-controlled robots, a few meters, perform well, but are imposing, expensive and impractical for some surgeries. They involve many logistical conditions and require new learning, thus generating new risks.

The robotic laparoscopic arm is an agile solution that proposes a response to some of these conditioning factors. It allows the surgeon to regain intracorporeal mobility for total freedom of movement: Seven degrees of freedom, while benefiting from a comfortable working position with his own arm along the body.

It results in a more precise surgery, which makes it possible to reduce complications when dissection and suture gestures are performed in small spaces and for complex surgeries.

The surgical habits of laparoscopy are preserved. Learning is therefore easier and the surgeon is in direct proximity to the patient, guaranteeing maximum safety for the latter.

Innovation and robotics in the surgical field should make minimally invasive surgery accessible to all patients, without new risks and without significant cost overruns for institutions. Otherwise, this technology would only be reserved for a minority and contrary to medical ethics.

Engineer Cristian Ouniche Representative in Latin America of the robotic laparoscopic surgery team

With robotic technology results in more precise surgery.