robots in surgery

If your doctor tells you you need surgery, you may feel confused and worried. You are probably worried about whether the surgery will be successful, how painful it will be, and how long you will be absent from work. The good news is that you can expect a very different surgical experience with advancements in surgical technology.

The robotic surgery is now performed using the Da Vinci Surgical System, a unique suite of technology that includes special “arms” to hold the instruments and cameras and extended screens and consoles. Robotics in surgery treat conditions that affect the heart, digestive system, bladder, prostate, etc.

What is robotic surgery?

Robot surgery uses special technology that enhances the capabilities of your surgeon’s hands. This allows the surgeon to perform procedures on hard-to-reach areas through small incisions. The unique technology also allows for precise movement and increased magnification.

Technology includes:

  • A surgical arm with a small instrument with a cuff on end.
  • A special camera that provides an enlarged 3D view of the surgical area.
  • A surgical console where the surgeon controls the instruments and the camera’s every movement.

The History of Robotic Surgery

The term “robot” was coined by Czech playwright Karel Capek in 1921 in Rossom’s Universal Robots. The first non-laparoscopic robot, the Puma 560, was used to perform neurosurgical biopsies with greater precision in 1985. Davies and his team performed a hysteroscopy three years later using the same machine. This system is encoded in PROBOT, a robotic system designed specifically for urethral surgery.

In 2000, the Da Vinci Surgical System took new roots as the first robotics in surgery approved by the FDA for general laparoscopic surgery. This is the first time the FDA has approved a comprehensive system of surgical instruments and laparoscopic devices.

The predecessor relied heavily on using endoscopes and surgical assistants in their operations. The 3D magnifying screen of the da Vinci robotic surgery system allows surgeons to view the surgical area in high-resolution clarity.

What surgeries are performed by robots?

Laparoscopy and robotic surgery are similar. Laparoscopic surgery requires less trauma than open surgery. With this technique, the surgeon can make small and precise movements. Because this robotic surgery machine allows less movement and accuracy, it has advantages over standard endoscopic techniques. Robot laparoscopic surgery is easier than laparoscopic surgery. In addition, the surgeon can see the procedure area more clearly. It is also more convenient for surgeons to use this method. The robotics surgery may take longer. One reason is that the robots take longer to set up. Also, not every hospital had previously had access to the technology.

The most common robotics in surgery procedures are:

  • Coronary artery bypass
  • Surgery to remove cancerous tissue from a delicate body part, such as a blood vessel, nerve, or vital organ.
  • Gallbladder removal surgery
  • Hip replacement
  • Hysterectomy
  • Complete or partial removal of a kidney
  • kidney transplant

How safe is robotic surgery?

Robotics in surgery is risky. There is a small risk of infection and other surgical complications. The experts agree that robotic surgery is safe. Quality and safety are important parts of the training process.

The surgeons who use this robotic surgery machine are highly trained and skilled at what they do. It’s important to realize that robots don’t make decisions or perform surgery. The surgeon controls the robot and directs the entire procedure. But it may not be an option for everyone, so it is essential to consult your doctor.

There is a good reason that most patients today opt for minimally invasive procedures. Minimally invasive surgery means the incision is much smaller, with less bleeding and scarring.

The risk of infection is greatly reduced in robotic surgery. It also means a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery. Robotic surgery is usually minimally invasive.

Read: Da Vinci Robotic Surgery: The Future of Medical Technology

How does robotic surgery work?

Robotic surgery
Image source: thehindu

Robotic surgery remains a type of surgery that is fully under the surgeon’s control while taking advantage of the sharp precision of the robotic arm. The main feature distinguishing robotic surgery from open surgery is the surgeon’s access to a console remotely controlling the surgical instruments.

Many agents play a role during robotic knee replacement surgery. The procedure cannot begin without a small incision, and the 360° camera enlarges the surgical view for the doctor.

While the primary surgeon used a console with hand and foot controls to operate the robots, a second surgeon also controlled how the surgical instruments worked. Only the robotic arm picks up and controls the surgical instruments. The surgeon also controls the robot’s movements by adjusting the accuracy relative to hand gestures.

What is the failure rate of robotic surgery?

Robotic surgery is minimally invasive, using small surgical instruments attached to a robotic arm. The surgeon controls the robotic arm with a computer and controls its movements from a console. The small and precise movements possible in this type of surgery give it a huge advantage over standard surgical techniques. It also allows the surgeon to perform the procedure through smaller incisions than open surgery.

This makes it less risky than traditional surgery. Several advantages include smaller incisions, less pain, less blood loss, faster recovery, and a shorter hospital stay. These are risks of infection, injury, bleeding, and reactions that are not conducive to general anaesthesia. In addition, the only risk for robotic surgery is system failure occurring in less than 1% of cases.

With these factors, robot surgery is a safer alternative compared to traditional surgery.

What are the three types of robotic surgeries?

  • Robotic gynaecological surgery

Robotic gynaecological surgery may be a good alternative to open or standard laparoscopic procedures. Open gynaecological surgery makes a large incision in the abdomen to allow the surgeon access to the uterus and surrounding anatomy. It has been the standard practice in gynaecological surgery for many years. However, open surgery can be very painful and a long recovery process. It Reduces blood loss and less need for blood transfusions, and it may recover faster and return to normal activities.

  • Robotic kidney surgery

The kidneys are two fist-sized organs located near the middle of the back and under the rib cage. The kidneys get rid of waste and excess water, which becomes urine. Urine flows through a tube called the urethra to the bladder. A number of conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, cysts, stones, and infections, can damage kidneys. This is an open procedure that requires a six- to eight-inch incision. Still, a partial nephrectomy, in which part of the kidney is removed, requires an open procedure which means not long ago. The patient still has no alternative to robotic surgery.

  • Robotic Colorectal Surgery:

During a robotic colectomy, your surgeon removes the cancerous part of your colon and rectum and benign tumors and polyps. Nowadays, robotics in the surgery approach provides surgeons with tools to connect the two ends of the colon more easily after removing cancer. This procedure can be done with a few small incisions instead of the single long incision that traditional open colon surgery requires.

Robotic surgery allows surgeons to operate on complex rectal cancers, which is extremely challenging. Robotic prostate surgery provides better surgical site visibility through 3D amplification, enhancing expertise in manipulation and dissection.

Which is better, laparoscopy or robotic surgery?

Laparoscopy and robotic surgery are both minimally invasive and are commonly used by surgeons for abdominal and pelvic surgery. Both of these types of surgery are different from traditional open surgery. This requires a small incision and a magnified view of the procedure.

Laparoscopic surgery is performed manually using a two-dimensional camera. Meanwhile robotic surgery, the surgeon must use tools from outside the patient’s body. They use a console and a 3D camera because robotic surgery gives surgeons a clearer, more precise view and expertise. Robotic hernia surgery generally results in less pain, fewer complications, and a faster recovery time for the patient.

Robotic surgery pros and cons


  • More accurate: The movement of the robotic arm is more accurate than the human hand and has a greater range of motion. The arm rotates the instrument in a confined space in an impossible way.
  • Improved visualization: State-of-the-art cameras provide high-contrast enlarged images of the surgical area. It also has 3D capabilities for imaging beyond the naked eye.
  • Intra-body surgical capability: Small tools allow the surgeon to perform surgery inside your body. Traditionally, robotics in surgery will need to make a much larger incision to surgically remove that part of your body.


  • This procedure is only available in centres that can afford the technology and have specially trained surgeons.
  • If there are complications, your surgeon may need to switch to open surgery with larger incisions. This includes scar tissue from previous surgeries. That makes it difficult for robot technology to carry out the procedure.
  • Risk of nerve damage and compression
  • A malfunction of robotics in surgery is extremely rare.

Most Common Robotic Surgery Procedures

Robotic surgical
Image credit:
  • Head and neck surgery:

Surgeons often have difficulty accessing certain mouth and neck areas with minimally invasive techniques. The robot’s smaller, more flexible tools can help.

  • Gastrointestinal surgery:

Gallbladder surgery is one of the first methods. Nowadays, it is popular to do robotic gallbladder surgery. Robots may help surgeons treating gastrointestinal cancers to remove lymph nodes, cut out large tumours or create new organs and tissues. You can get the best result from robotic hernia surgery.

  • Heart surgery:

Since the late 1990s, robots have helped treat various cardiovascular conditions, including heart defects, vascular disease, and aortic aneurysms. The robot’s stable arm could help surgeons manoeuvre through small, narrow blood vessels in the chest with less damage. And the system acts as a stable platform when the procedure involves implanting a device such as a catheter or a stent. These robots in surgery increase the accuracy of thoracic surgery and reduce the amount of pre-needed imaging.

  • Joint surgery:

Different surgical systems have been developed to perform hip and knee replacements. In some cases, they perform tasks that surgeons would normally do by hand, such as creating a gap in the bone to insert part of the joint. They help the surgeon do this job more precisely. Robotic knee surgery can result in better orientation.

Read: Robotics in Healthcare – Types, Application, Pros and Cons

How long is a hospital stay after robotic surgery?

The recovery will be much shorter for robot-assisted surgery. Depending on the type of procedure and your overall health, you may:

  • You can get out of bed shortly after the anaesthesia wears off.
  • Food can be taken within a few hours after surgery.
  • In same day or next day you can go home.

Is robotic surgery better, Costly & painful?

Using a high-resolution surgical console, the surgeon who performs the robotic knee surgery can dilate to view the blood vessels and better manage potential problems such as bleeding, As a result, the majority of patients who undergo robot-assisted surgery report pain after surgery.

The surgery by the robot can perform delicate and complex procedures that may be difficult or impossible in other ways. The advantages of minimally invasive surgery include reducing complications such as infection at the surgical site.

The robot-assisted surgery is expensive. But it can be cost-effective in most high-volume centers with many surgeons. When used to its full potential and ultimately market-driven competition, this device will be affordable.


Today’s culture has made great medical advances that allow us to live longer and healthier lives. However, suppose you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a disease that may require surgery. In that case, you have to learn about your choices, including minimally invasive surgical treatment with surgery by a robot. The above discussion gives you a clear idea of robotic surgery. With robot-assisted surgery, Surgeons can perform complex surgeries. Robotic surgery is less traumatic and more accurate.

By Robots Science

Robots Science brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the world of robotics and artificial intelligence. With a keen interest in the latest trends and developments in this field, We are committed to providing readers with insightful and informative content that helps them stay up-to-date on the latest advancements in robotics and AI.