Embracing the Robo-Revolution in Surgery: A Game Changer!

September 26, 2023 – High above the clouds on her flight to Atlanta, Robin Pollack enjoyed gummy bears and a cranberry juice cocktail. A mere week had passed since her groundbreaking robotic surgery at the renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston to eliminate a cancerous stomach tumor. Surprisingly, she was now on her way home, feeling fantastic.

The surgical procedure involved just five minor incisions. “I now have four little dots and a 2-inch slit that was neatly sealed with superglue,” Pollack enthusiastically shared. “After the surgery, I woke up feeling hungry.”

Remarkably, within a day, she was up and walking. In a week, she and her husband were out exploring the town, savoring crème brûlée and eggs Florentine.

“Since the surgery,” she happily noted two weeks later, “I haven’t experienced a hint of pain. I haven’t needed any pain medication, not even a single Tylenol. Just yesterday, I walked 2 miles.”

Enhanced post-operative quality of life is just one of the many advantages offered by robotic surgery, as affirmed by Dr. Naruhiko Ikoma, the surgical oncologist who conducted Pollack’s surgery.

For surgeons, there are also notable benefits. “I feel significantly more precise when it comes to dissection and suturing,” Ikoma explained. “In conventional open surgeries, surgeons rely on instruments. However, in robotic surgery, it’s as if surgeons are operating with their own fingers, complete with highly precise tips.”

While robotic surgery, or robot-assisted surgery, has been in existence for over two decades, experts believe it is on the verge of a substantial surge. The factors propelling this technology forward are precisely the advantages cited by Pollack and Ikoma: improved precision, shorter recovery periods, and reduced post-operative pain.

In 2021, approximately 644,000 robotic surgeries were conducted in the United States. Experts anticipate this number will approach one million by 2028, with millions more occurring worldwide. In 2022, the global market for robotic surgical devices reached $6.3 billion, and it is anticipated to reach an astonishing $26.8 billion within the next decade.

Robotic-assisted devices have received FDA clearance for numerous specialties. In procedures such as prostate removals and hysterectomies, the use of surgical robots has become more common than not. It’s also swiftly gaining ground in bariatric surgery and hernia repairs, and its adoption is continuously rising in hip and knee replacements. Additionally, several surgical teams have pioneered robot-assisted kidney transplants, and the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis recently celebrated the first-ever robotic liver transplant in the United States.

Source: WebMD

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