Researchers have disclosed that a robot has completed a keyhole surgery procedure on a pig, without human assistance for the first time, initiating hopes that the delicate procedure has taken a major step forward in it’s development.
Researchers say that the successful advancement could allow operations to be full automated in the future, and be applied to humans, potentially saving both resources and waiting times.
What The Study Revealed
Dr Axel Krieger from Johns Hopkins University, noted that this was the first time that un-assisted procedure had been completed by a robot. This is significant because the procedure, which involves connecting two ends of an intestine, is felt to be the most difficult process in a gastrointestinal surgery, since it require both consistency, and extreme accuracy. Failure to complete the procedure to a high degree of accuracy can cause leaks and result in severe consequences for patients. As such, this test was a worthy challenge for the future of automation in medical procedures.
Dr Krieger said:
‘Our findings show that we can automate one of the most intricate and delicate tasks in surgery: the reconnection of two ends of an intestine…The Star performed the procedure in four animals and it produced significantly better results than humans performing the same procedure…What makes the Star special is that it is the first robotic system to plan, adapt, and execute a surgical plan in soft tissue with minimal human intervention…Robotic anastomosis (surgically joining two structures) is one way to ensure that surgical tasks that require high precision and repeatability can be performed with more accuracy and precision in every patient independent of surgeon skill…We hypothesise that this will result in a democratised surgical approach to patient care with more predictable and consistent patient outcomes.’
An Advancement For Modern Challenges
With increasing seniors in our community, allied with strained resources within health sectors, the announcement will be welcome as an advancement towards handling the challenges that the modern age will certainly present.
Whilst it is unclear how long it could be before procedures are all fully automated, the study has at least opened the door to advancement, and the incremental improvement in the surgical field…some good news for overwhelmed resources, and for those who fear lengthy wait times for surgery.