The Rise of Robotic Surgery

By Ruemon Bhattacharyya — Correspondent

The most recent advances in surgical technology have revolutionized the surgery experience for many patients. Robotic surgery allows doctors to perform complex procedures with more precision, flexibility, and control. Robotic surgery has been rapidly adopted by hospitals in the United States and Europe for use in the treatment of a wide range of conditions.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Surgeons who use the robotic system find that for many procedures it enhances precision, flexibility, and control during the operation and allows them to better see the site, compared with traditional techniques. Using robotic surgery, surgeons can perform delicate and complex procedures that may have been difficult or impossible with other methods. 

Dr. Umut Sarpel, Associate Professor of Oncology at Mount Sinai, says nowadays more and more surgeries can be done robotically. “There are now some procedures that before could only be done by hand which are making the transition to being completed robotically. The main advantage of the robot is that it allows greater precision through very small incisions. I want to spare my patients from the larger incisions which are needed from more traditional surgical procedures,” said Dr. Sarpel. 

“There are many myths about robotic surgery. Robotic surgery does not mean that there is a robot that comes into the operating room and is operating on you. I always reassure my patients that it should be really called computer-assisted surgery instead because what robotic surgery is a physician at a console operating joysticks that control robotic arms,” added Dr. Sarpel. 

Companies like Johnson & Johnson and Boston Scientific develop some of the leading surgical equipment, including robots. “We have a very strong role in the next generation of digital surgery platforms. As it relates to medical devices, we’ve been, I think, very consistent in sharing our thinking that, again, this next generation is certainly about the robotics component that helps facilitate perhaps having more consistency in an exact procedure, perhaps getting into a tighter space, having better access,” said Alex Gorsky, former CEO of Johnson & Johnson. 

CEO of Boston Scientific, Mike Mahoney, says advancements in surgical technologies are an inspiring prospect for the future. “I was inspired by my grandpa who was a pediatric cardiac surgeon. I grew up admiring how he helped so many children,” said Mahoney. 

“We’re making a difference for so many patients, including technologies to help those suffering from heart and circulatory problems, chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease and addressing infection control, gastrointestinal and urological health. I’m always fired up when I see what our engineers are doing in the lab to bring forward innovation or when I connect with our sales teams and customers. Nothing energizes me more than hearing stories from them that demonstrate how together we are improving patient lives,” added Mahoney. 

Sid Pulukuri, senior at SHS and aspiring surgeon has been following the advancements in medical technologies for some time now. “Back in the earlier 20th century, many advanced surgeries were difficult, requiring the most meticulous and prestigious doctors to work in teams for grueling hours, performing difficult operations. As opposed to that, now doctors have the flexibility of utilizing robots such as the DaVinci Surgical System to decrease the risk of random human error while also providing a comfortable environment for doctors to work through,” said Pulukuri. 

“After viewing such robots firsthand at Boston Medical Center, I see how the possibilities become limitless, and the doctors’ inventory of surgical tools expands: a benefit to us all,” added Pulukri.

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