Robotic technology has proved transformational in the industrial sector, automating dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks for substantially higher productivity levels. They’ve brought an entirely new level of efficiency, quality and safety to industrial processes. Because of this, they continue to grow within this space. Now, robots are making their way into the operating room (OR).
Medical robots are being used throughout the hospital setting today. From delivering medicine to exoskeletons for rehabilitation, robots being used in medicine are not new, but the OR is relatively uncharted territory. Today’s robotic technology is advancing to the point where surgical automation is becoming a reality.
The Benefits of Medical Robots in the Operating Room
Medical robots feature superhuman levels of control in terms of trajectory, depth and speed. They’re also able to effectively limit the forces they exert. In the OR, this level of precision, without fatigue or deviation, is highly desirable.
Robots can repeat the same motion over and over again to an incredibly high degree of accuracy. Leveraging sophisticated algorithms, computer assistance, and advanced motion control technologies, robots perform tasks that surgeons with manual tools simply cannot. While there are a few types of robots in use for surgical procedures today, this area has become a hotbed of development because of the enormous potential of robots in this space.
Applications of Medical Robots in Surgery
There are several current and potential applications of medical robots in the operating room. These types of systems have existed since 2000, but in a more limited format. Recently, a newer type of robot for use in abdominal surgeries uses eye-tracking cameras that allow surgeons to move a laparoscopic camera simply by moving their eyes.
There are robotic systems for use in hair transplants, targeted radiotherapy, and even for laser bone cutting in craniomaxillofacial surgeries. Soon, robots will also be used to automate some of the more mundane tasks during surgical procedures that are often completed by surgeons, such as suction, irrigation, and tissue retraction.
While FDA approval remains a major obstacle to entrance in this market, there are still many different types of robotic technology being developed. More and more are being approved for regular use all the time.
Robots have long reigned supreme in the industrial sector, improving efficiency, safety, and productivity in a wide range of tasks. Now, robots are coming to the operating room looking to provide many of the same benefits.
To take a deeper dive on this topic, read our industry insight article, “Robots and AI in the OR.”