Robotic surgery, also known as robot assisted surgery, enables surgeons to perform various complex operations in a more accurate, flexible and controllable manner than traditional methods. Robotic surgery is usually associated with minimally invasive surgery, which involves surgery through small incisions. It is also occasionally used in some traditional open surgery.
The most common clinical robotic surgery systems include a camera arm and a robotic arm with surgical tools. When the surgeon sits in front of a computer near the operating table, he controls the mechanical arm. The console provides surgeons with an enlarged, high-definition three-dimensional view of the surgical site. A first clinical trial led by scientists from University College London and the University of Sheffield found that using robot assisted surgery to remove and reconstruct bladder cancer can make patients recover faster and greatly reduce hospital stay (20%).
This study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on May 15 and funded by Champness foundation. It also found that robotic surgery reduced the chance of readmission by half (52%), and showed that compared with patients undergoing open surgery, the incidence of thrombosis (deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism) was dramatically reduced by four times (77%), which was an important reason for health decline and morbidity. Patients' endurance and quality of life have also been improved, and their physical activity has increased, which is measured by the daily steps recorded on the wearable smart sensor.
Unlike open surgery, which involves the surgeon working directly on the patient and making large incisions in the skin and muscles, robot assisted surgery enables the doctor to remotely guide less traumatic tools using the console and 3D view. It is currently available in only a few hospitals in the UK. The researchers said that these findings provide the strongest evidence to date to prove the benefits of robot assisted surgery for patients. Now they are urging the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) to promote it as a clinical option in the UK for all major abdominal surgery, including colorectal, gastrointestinal and gynecological surgery.