Robots are ubiquitous today. Robotics in medicine is a fairly new, yet advancing field. It is growing in popularity in the field of surgery as it allows for exceptional and precise control of surgical devices in minimally invasive procedures. Robotic-Assisted Surgery (RAS) is an advanced form of laparoscopic surgery, a type of surgery in which the surgeon operates through small incisions instead of through large incisions in the operating region (). RAS is designed to overcome the limitations of laparoscopic surgery and to enhance the performance of surgeons performing minimally invasive surgery.
In general, a robotic operating system comprises of three components: the surgeon’s console, a patient-side robotic cart with multiple arms, and a high-definition 3-D vision system. Surgical instruments capable of cutting, dissecting, and suturing are mounted on the robotic arms which are introduced into the body through incisions. In contrast with conventional surgery, the doctors do not touch these instruments directly. In using the da Vinci robot surgery system, a surgeon makes three or four incisions that are no longer than the diameter of a pencil in the patient’s body, which allows the surgeon to insert three or four stainless-steel rods (). Sitting at a control console a few feet from the operating table, the surgeon uses a viewfinder to inspect the 3-D images sent by the camera inside the patient. The images show the target site and the three or four surgical instruments mounted on the tips of the surgical rods. The surgeon uses the joystick-like controls located on the console to manipulate the surgical instruments.
Today numerous surgical robots have been adopted by operating rooms all over the world and are now being used for a variety of delicate procedures including: total endoscopic coronary artery bypass grafting, pancreatectomies, prostatectomies, cholecystectomies, Whipple surgery, pediatric surgery, heart valve repairs and replacements, and total hip and knee replacement surgeries. In 1985, PUMA 560, one of the first surgical robots, was used to place a needle for a neurosurgical biopsy using CT guidance (). PROBOT, developed in the late 1980’s, was a compact robot used to assist in transurethral prostatectomies (). ROBODOC, by Integrated Surgical Systems, remains the only robot which is FDA-approved for orthopedic surgery (). In January 1999, Intuitive Surgical launched the daVinci Surgical System, a master-slave surgical system that uses true 3-D visualization (). The da Vinci system is by far the most successful robotic surgery system. A surgeon using the da Vinci system sits at an immersive console which displays a 3-dimensional view of the operating region. Tools on the console control the arms and wrists of the robot, which are capable of greater degree of freedom than hand-held laparoscopic tools.
In 2000, there were only 1,000 robotic surgeries world-wide; that number surged to 360,000 in 2011 and 450,000 in 2012 (). Robots...