Dr. Robot? Powerful new tool is just that, a tool

Dr. Dan Beckles

Dr. Dan Beckles

A recent article published by CNN/Fortune does a great job explaining the “rise of machines” in the nation’s operating suites.  Here at UTMB , our surgeons have been performing robotic assisted surgeries since 2000 (and other minimally invasive procedures such as laparoscopic surgery for much longer). During the past decade, the scope and number of surgical procedures that can be addressed using the robotic platform has increased dramatically.

UTMB features a state-of-the-art da Vinci Si Surgical System, not unlike the unit featured in the article. This new robotic surgery system has allowed us to expand the scope of our robotic surgeries and expertise even further. Enhancements such as high definition 3D video, fluorescence imaging for vascular structures, and enhanced safety features allow us to perform advanced procedures while maximizing patient safety and decreasing recovery time. However, as evidenced in the story, this great technology and everything it enables, only extends the capabilities of the surgeon and the OR Team.  There is no replacement for skill and experience, and the dynamic nature of the OR requires that your health care team be nimble and prepared to offer whatever therapy or approach best fits your condition. It’s with this  philosophy that we approach robotic surgery, all in order to offer  our patients the best possible outcome.

Advances in surgery usually attempt to ameliorate surgery’s essential nature: cutting someone to cure him. The less severe the tissue damage, the faster the patient heals — less time in recovery, less money spent recovering from the wounds. In health care this is known as “lowering the downstream costs,” and it is what is driving hospitals to invest $2 million a pop for surgical machines.

Read full  article: http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/01/15/robotic-surgeons/

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