The goal of any surgery is to provide relief from a specific medical condition. This might be because of a trauma, a genetic condition, or a disease that is ravaging the body. In the past, surgeries are often very painful and took months which to recover because the doctor had to cut open large sections of the body to reach the malady. Thanks to robotic surgery, very small tools that are attached to a robotic arm can be used smaller incisions. The surgeon controls the robotic arm with a computer.
Statistics About Robotic Surgery
1. Most surgeons only need to make two or three small incisions in order to successfully complete a surgery with robotic equipment.
2. The first robotic surgery occurred in 1997. It was done to successfully reconnect the woman’s fallopian tubes.
3. The first unmanned robotic surgery was performed in Italy in 2006.
4. Canada saw their first coronary artery bypass graft performed by a robotic surgical system in 1999.
5. The average length of incision for a robotic surgeon: 2 cm.
6. Approximately 400,000 robotic surgeries were performed across all types of surgery in the U.S. in 2012.
7. The rate of robotic surgeries are increasing by 25% annually.
8. For hysterectomies performed in the U.S., the utilization of robot-assisted surgery increased from .5% in 2007 to 9.5% in 2010.
9. In 2000, the da Vinci Surgical System became the first robotic surgical platform commercially available in the United States to be cleared by the FDA.
10. More than 8,000 da Vinci Prostatectomies were performed in the United States in 2004.
11. Blood transfusion rates during robotic surgeries can be near 0%. Compare this to open surgery blood transfusion rates that may be up to 40%.
12. If a doctor has performed fewer than 250 robotic surgeries, the outcome is significantly worse than traditional open surgery or a more experienced robotic surgery.
13. Several studies have shown that there is a higher risk of having cancer left behind during the robotic surgery requiring supplemental treatments afterward when compared to traditional open surgery.
14. A study from Harvard showed that men who underwent robotic surgeries actually had higher rates of incontinence and a loss of sexual function than men treated with an open surgery.
Myths About Robotic Surgery
There is this myth that robotic surgery is a new and virtually untested system of medical treatment. Although you should know the facts of any surgery before agreeing to one, the statistics show that recoveries can be faster with a robotic surgery because less collateral damage occurs during the treatment.
Although robotic surgeries can cause a lot of anxiety, every patient is given a general anesthesia so that they are asleep and pain-free during the procedure. The doctor will then sit at a computer station and direct the movements of the robotic arm. Small cuts to insert the instruments into the body are made and then thin tubes with cameras attached allow the surgeon to take images of your body where the surgery is taking place. The robotic arm matches the hand movements of the doctor so that the procedure is performed accurately.
The risks of having a robotic surgery are the same as they are with any other surgery that is required. The two primary risks for the surgery are the development of bleeding or an infection. There are also the risks for the anesthesia, which might include a reaction to the medication or problems with breathing. In return, however, depending on the type of the robotic surgery that is performed, a patient may be able to be discharged from the hospital on the same day the surgery is performed. Most people are able to walk within a day after their procedure.
The benefits of robotic surgery are clear – especially when compared to the traditional open surgery methods that were used in the past. Recovery times are faster. There is less overall pain and a reduced chance of bleeding. Because the incisions are smaller, there is also less of a risk of infection. In return there are shorter hospital stays and smaller scars. As you can see with the statistics about robotic surgery, there are also a number of other benefits that are associated with this practice.
That doesn’t mean that robotic surgery is 100% safe. There are instances where severe injuries and even death have been linked to robotic surgical systems. This is happened during what would normally be considered a routine surgery for prostate removal or a hysterectomy. Some horrific injuries including ruptured intestines, tears, burns, and cuts that required additional surgeries to repair have occurred. The FDA has even begun investigating robotic surgical systems because of the number of claims that of occurred injuries with the device.
The question that must be asked is this: do the rewards of the robotic surgery outweigh any of the risks that a patient may face? For some patients, especially those who have a religious or personal preference for not receiving blood transfusions, a robotic surgery is by far the best option other patients may opt for a more traditional open surgery because it allows the doctor to be hands on with their condition instead of operating a robotic arm.
There is a reason why surgeons have you sign a waiver before you have a surgery completed. Even the best surgeon in the entire world cannot guarantee a personal recovery from an illness or a trauma that requires their skills. Medical science is not 100% accurate because individual humans have unique characteristics that make them medically different from one another. What robotic server does is level the playing field. Surgeries can be completed faster and healing times can be reduced because incisions and probing can be reduced.
As the statistics show, the most important thing to ask about before having a robotic surgery is in regards to the experience of the surgeon. An inexperienced robotic surgeon is probably not someone that you want to have operating on you.