Robotic Surgery: A Current Perspective

Anthony R. Lanfranco, BAS; Andres E. Castellanos, MD; Jaydev P. Desai, PhD; William C. Meyers, MD

Disclosures

Annals of Surgery. 2004;239(1) 

In This Article

Practical Uses of Surgical Robots Today

In today's competitive healthcare market, many organizations are interested in making themselves "cutting-edge" institutions with the most advanced technological equipment and the very newest treatment and testing modalities. Doing so allows them to capture more of the healthcare market. Acquiring a surgical robot is in essence the entry fee into marketing an institution's surgical specialties as "the most advanced." It is not uncommon, for example, to see a photo of a surgical robot on the cover of a hospital's marketing brochure and yet see no word mentioning robotic surgery inside.

As far as ideas and science, surgical robotics is a deep, fertile soil. It may come to pass that robotic systems are used very little but the technology they are generating and the advances in ancillary products will continue. Already, the development of robotics is spurring interest in new tissue anastomosis techniques, improving laparoscopic instruments, and digital integration of already existing technologies.

As mentioned previously, applications of robotic surgery are expanding rapidly into many different surgical disciplines. The cost of procuring one of these systems remains high, however, making it unlikely that an institution will acquire more than one or two. This low number of machines and the low number of surgeons trained to use them makes incorporation of robotics in routine surgeries rare. Whether this changes with the passing of time remains to be seen.

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