Surgery has existed since the 1800s, but surgeons started using the help of robots only 17 years ago. The DaVinci is a robotic technology that lets doctors help patients from a control center and make smaller cuts on the body. The machine was invented in 2000, and it has worked on 3 million patients. About 64 countries use the robot for surgeries, but the DaVinci isn’t cheap; the DaVinci costs about $2 million for one robot, and surgeries that use the robot cost around $3,000-6,000. The price tag is high, but is robotic surgery our future?
The robot comes with controls, four robotic arms, and a 3D screen. The DaVinci has two parts to it, the robot itself and the console (the control center). The robot, which operates on the patient, has three small arms with tools, such as scissors or a scalpel. The fourth arm holds a camera that gives the surgeon a 3D view of the patient from the console. The console is where the surgeon operates. The doctor looks through the machine’s eye holes to see a 3D image of the surgery. The doctor moves the robot’s arms through hand controllers and foot pedals.
The DaVinci makes less mistakes than a surgeon thanks to its steady touch. The system can filter the shaking of the surgeon’s fingers. It can also change large hand movements into smaller movements of the surgical tool. The machine can rotate 540 degrees, which isn’t possible for human hands. The technology leaves smaller scars on the patient, results in less blood loss, and allows patients to get well faster than most normal surgeries. To show the DaVinci’s power, Edward Hospital, located in the United States, performed surgery on a grape. It slowly peeled back its thin layers and stitched them back on. , but there are many issues the technology still hasn’t resolved.
It seems like there are no downsides to DaVinci and the technology is becoming more and more popular. But many doctors aren’t convinced that using robots is the best choice. Each robot can cost between $1 million and $2.25 million dollars per model, plus any repairs, which would cost around $1,500. Then, there’s the cost for running each machine, an additional $140,000 hospitals must pay to keep them working. All these costs add up to a lot of money, which is why many doctors and hospitals do not want to use robots in surgery. Because of the DaVinci’s high cost, less doctors train for open heart surgeries. Technology is amazing, but surgeons still need to perform these surgeries.
Even though many doctors do not share the same opinion on using robots, the future of robotics in surgeries is bright. Soon surgeons could use tele-medicine and operate on a patient in a different city or continent than where they are located. In fact, the first design of a surgical robot system was invented to perform surgery on astronauts with remote controlled robots. The U.S. Army is interested in using robotic surgery on the battlefield. But the technology could also be used to give people care who live in distant areas or poorer countries.
The first long distance surgery was performed between New York and Strasbourg, France in 2001. The surgery was successful, but a delay between the surgeon’s commands from the console to the robot’s movements showed that there was still work to be done. That was sixteen years ago. Now, many more tele-surgeries will happen as the Internet is both stronger and faster. Tele-medicine is not science fiction anymore. It will increase competition between doctors, but it will also push them to be the best in their field. It seems all of us will enjoy this bright future in medicine.
The da Vinci Surgical System is used to stitch a grape back together. The same technology that can be used to stitch a tiny grape is designed to help perform delicate, minimally invasive surgery.