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Robotic Surgery: The Role of AI and Collaborative Robots

robotic surgeryIn the operating room (OR), surgeons must always be precise when making incisions or performing other surgical tasks. The repetitive tasks are challenging. To assist surgeons, the medical field is using the advancements of AI and collaborative robots in the OR.

Surgical Robots Bring Skills to the OR

Surgical robots are able to control the trajectory, depth, and speed of their movements with great precision. They are especially well-suited for procedures that require the same, repetitive movements as they are able to work without fatigue. Robots can also remain completely still for as long as needed and can go where traditional tools cannot.

Experience is invaluable in the OR. The longer surgeons can keep performing surgery, the better, but surgical procedures can be physically demanding. The skills and knowledge that surgeons amass over their careers can be impeded by a loss of motor skills. Collaborative robots can help diminish the effects of hand tremors and avoid unintended or accidental movements.

Robotic Surgery and AI

Artificial intelligence is being applied to surgical robotics. Manufacturers see the need to use deep learning data to automate rather than behavior programmed by an engineer that does not know all the scenarios. This deep machine learning data is collected from watching surgeons perform.

Thanks to this data and complex algorithms, AI can determine patterns within surgical procedures to improve best practices and to improve a surgical robots’ control accuracy to submillimeter precision. AI is also being used with machine vision to analyze scans and detect cancerous cases. Laparoscopic video analysis of surgeries, like sleeve gastrectomy procedures, helps to identify missing or unexpected steps in real time.

Robotic Surgery Applications

Robots have a superhuman ability to repeat exact motions. This is extremely useful in hair transplant surgeries, for example. The robot harvests hair follicles and then implants the follicular units into targeted areas on the scalp. Integrated force sensing ensures that the robot maintains the desired force during harvesting and implantation.

Abdominal surgical robots can move by means of an eye-tracking camera control. Surgeons are able to move the camera simply by moving their eyes. The machine also provides haptic feedback so they can feel the forces that the robotics arms encounter.

Surgeons need extremely steady hands when working in delicate areas, such as the eyes. Tests of a system to remove membranes from patients’ eyes or blood underneath the retina due to age-related macular degeneration have been successful. And in some cases, the surgery via the robotic system was more effective than doing the procedures manually.

Surgeons are using robotic surgery platforms that use micro-instrumentation, flexible robotics, and other technologies for bronchoscopic procedures. Robotics improve outcomes for patients by accessing and treating disease through the body’s natural openings. The platforms integrate endoscopes, instruments, and navigation into a single platform, allowing physicians to better conduct endoscopic interventions.

Collaborative robots are rapidly becoming part of everyday life. To learn more about applications of collaborative robots, watch our free archived webinar Collaborative Robot Stories at Robotics Online.


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