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(io9)   In the coming robot apocalypse, human surgeons will get to keep their jobs   (io9.com) divider line 14
    More: Interesting, robot uprising, robotic surgery, JAMA, surgeons, hysterectomy  
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2140 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 Dec 2013 at 1:48 PM (31 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



14 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-12-19 01:49:53 PM
And because of a failed logic circuit, so will the Houston Oilers.
 
2013-12-19 01:55:36 PM
Better for abdominal vs thoracic.
 
2013-12-19 01:58:57 PM
Doctors get to keep their jobs, but patients don't get to keep their doctors. Thanks, Obama!
 
2013-12-19 01:59:25 PM
eggshell-robotics.node3000.com
 
2013-12-19 02:04:32 PM
I think it was on FARK that I first saw the insult/expletive "This is not rocket surgery!"  Started using it as an office meme of sorts, and it caught on.  Heard it used by others in conference room meetings that had ground to a shuddering halt.

/Merry Xmas, FARK

//opens a beer and raises a toast
 
2013-12-19 02:15:01 PM
They can still shrink people and put them in a little space ship that rides around in your body looking for gerbils, right?

wpc.556e.edgecastcdn.net
 
2013-12-19 02:23:09 PM
Luckily for surgeons, robots will not increase in performance or decrease in price.
 
2013-12-19 02:41:23 PM
What's the point of robotic surgery anyway? I can see how it might matter when an inhumanly steady and fine hand is required for delicate neuro or vascular work, but in the article they're mentioning colectomies and hysterectomies. Why would robots be any better at those? Really am curious, if any robosurgeons can chime in.
 
2013-12-19 02:49:45 PM

poorjon: What's the point of robotic surgery anyway? I can see how it might matter when an inhumanly steady and fine hand is required for delicate neuro or vascular work, but in the article they're mentioning colectomies and hysterectomies. Why would robots be any better at those? Really am curious, if any robosurgeons can chime in.


When properly programmed robots rarely remove the wrong organ, amputate the wrong limb, or leave medical instruments in their patients. This can sometimes include not castrating men who are in for circumcision, which is a process less prone to error than a hysterectomy.
 
2013-12-19 04:41:53 PM

poorjon: What's the point of robotic surgery anyway? I can see how it might matter when an inhumanly steady and fine hand is required for delicate neuro or vascular work, but in the article they're mentioning colectomies and hysterectomies. Why would robots be any better at those? Really am curious, if any robosurgeons can chime in.


In addition to what Pangea said, there's potential remote applications.  Not exatly robot surgery, but remote-operated surgical robots.  I know the US military's been looking into this; set up your actual surgeon in a secure location in the rear; send your robot surgical units forward where it's more dangerous.  Wounded GI gets stuffed into robot surgical unit, instead of having to be flown to where the doc is.

Similar benefits could accrue in remote locations; Pacific islands, sparsely-populated areas, etc.

As for actual robots, as someone above said, the price and complication rates will keep coming down, and I'd wager they'll come down faster than the price of a human surgeon.

Give it ten years, and I may well bet my life on it...I've run across some good docs in my time, but also some truly horrific ones.  Gimme a robot with 99.9 percent, I'll be happy; he's not going to have a bad day, or a drink before surgery.
 
2013-12-19 04:47:57 PM
As a patient who underwent prostate removal surgery I can tell you this story.
My urologist recommended the robotic surgery because of all the attributes cited already.
My insurance company nixed the robot because it was more expensive and not any better than arthroscopic surgery.  My surgeon still used the robot but billed it as arthroscopic.  So depending on the source of the data, the study may not be accurate.
 
2013-12-19 05:04:33 PM
There are a lot of articles out there like this:
http://www.cpmc.org/services/surgery/robotic/Robotic-Prostate-Surger y- Advantages.html
Just the overnight in the hospital instead of two days and three nights shows clear advantages. Plus it is more precise (we are talking about whether the patient may ever have an erection here), it requires much less time with a catheter in, and far less blood loss.
 
2013-12-20 10:04:57 AM

Flavorguy: As a patient who underwent prostate removal surgery I can tell you this story.
My urologist recommended the robotic surgery because of all the attributes cited already.
My insurance company nixed the robot because it was more expensive and not any better than arthroscopic surgery.  My surgeon still used the robot but billed it as arthroscopic.  So depending on the source of the data, the study may not be accurate.


Also, this.  Insurance companies live in their own little world.
Ok, their own big, profitable world...but still, it doesn't always map 1 to 1 with reality.
 
2013-12-20 01:00:00 PM
I'll state my bias to start - Mrs. Salesmonkey is a physician who does robot-assisted surgery. And she loves it. The machine she uses, a DaVinci, was indeed developed out of DARPA based remote-surgeon research. It's not really a "robot", though, because it is not autonomous. The surgery is done with a doctor running the arms using joysticks and foot pedals.

Anecdote is not evidince, but she says that it cuts down on operator fatigue because the doctor sits at a console. Laproscopic surgery is done with rod-shaped instruments that go through ports in the body cavity, so the physician has to do a bit of contortion, bending over the patient, etc. to get the implements in the needed positions. Laproscopic surgery also uses larger ports than the robots do.

Haven't read the studies, but from the article I got the impression they were measuring outcomes. Good surgery usually has the same outcome- a healthy patient. So in terms of efficacy laproscopic and robot surgery would have the same outcome. But many people like the robot because it seems to generally have a shorter time of incapacitation, and patients can get back to their normal routine faster. So a shorter healing period (and less time in pain) is a benefit that many people like. There's also a lot of patients who ask for a video afterward. Just the thing to show after holiday dinner.
 
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