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back to article Controversy rages over robot vasectomy reversal in Florida

Medical boffins in Florida have announced a breakthrough of buttock-clenching importance: Surgical robots have apparently broken the world speed record for reversing vasectomies. “This is state-of-the-art stuff, it’s cutting-edge,” says Dr Wayne Kuang, director of Male Reproductive Health at the University of New Mexico, …

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Gold badge
Welcome

ROTM?

So we've given the beggars the ability to control human fertility now, have we?

What could possibly go wrong here?

I suppose I'd better welcome our new, robotic, vas deferens manipulating overlords, just in case they decide to snip my knackers off for dissent if I don't.

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Pint

Thanks Lewis

First Reg article I've seen that appropriately named our various American universities. Other commenters and I have griped about things like "Pennsylvania Uni" in the past, so thanks for listening. One minor nit-- I think the last school in question should be Medical College of Wisconsin.

Beers as a peace offering and because we'll all need a few before the robots start manipulating our delicate bits.

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Terminator

Somebody's invented a machine to stick your nuts in,

And they weren't in Japan.

I for one tell our would be robotic crotch pokers to f*ck off.

ROTM Because they really are out to get us.

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Unhappy

Speed is NOT a priority

When a surgeon, robotic or human, is working on me privates, I think I'd prefer caution over speed. The thought of a malfunctioning surgery robot while it's speed-slicing Mr Johnson is actually causing him to retract into my body cavity.

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Push the Envelope?

Dear Mr Lewis,

I know that in journalism it's important to grab your reader's attention - but using "push the envelope" in an article about scrotal surgery is quite definitely hitting below the belt.

Sam

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Pint

Very interesting

I'd agree that a hospital investing gigantic wads of cash (they don't actually specify the amount though) on a one-trick pony robot to perform a non-life saving procedure would be a waste of money, unless the sheer volume of operations of this nature would present a significant saving in time and/or money. I doubt any hospital would have that many un-snip jobs waiting in the pipeline.

This point of view does preclude the obvious though. If this robot can be programmed to reliably perform a vasectomy reversal in less time than a human, then surely it's purpose can be broadened to encompas similar procedures?

I'm sure there are lots of small tubes running around the human body that you or I would greatly appreciate reconnecting, should they ever become severed?

There will be a cost/benefit tipping point somewhere down the line. This is the kind of research that we need more of!

pint. Well, it's Friday

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Thumb Up

And that is the point

If you've just sliced a bit of your anatomy off such as a finger or arm, there are lots of little tubes that need reattaching when its been taken out of the ice.

Reattachment microsurgery can take many hours, so if this can allow the surgeon to do it quickly and with less strain all the better

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Dr Wayne Kuang

Just try saying that quickly

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Coat

may I be the first to say

What a load of bollocks.

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Welcome

I,FO,W...

"... robot vasectomy reversal..."

I, for one, welcome our newly retesticled robot masters.

I just hope they'll be able to reverse Truck-Nut vasectomies next as I badly need a new pickup.

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Silver badge

Speak for yourself

>"the microscopic tubes involved".

The doctor showed me mine when they were out, as fat as drainpipes they were.

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Unhappy

I suddenly feel very faint....

*whoosh*, sound of my own crown jewels hiding!

*sploosh*, sound of lunch reappearing!

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Happy

Well...

... Only because you should have had them cleaned out more often ;)

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Anonymous Coward

An observation

Having a vasectomy is a bit like being gay. Those that have had one either want to keep it a secret or can't stop going on about it.

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Boffin

re "Won't Catch On"

If surgery in general heads in the direction of robotic, then of course scrot repair surgery will end up going that way too.

Boffins, because I did Paris without interruption all of 2009 and I need a change. (Sorry, luv.)

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Terminator

I for one welcome our

un-snipping robot sterilization reversing overlords!

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Paris Hilton

What?

Okay, I'm all for reversing my vasectomy, but of all the services I had considered allowing a robot to perform on my nether regions, this was not one of them.

I'll take the Christina Riccitron model with the speech module removed, thank you.

Paris, because they don't have a Christina Ricci pic, but it'd have the same results for me.

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Coat

C'mon guys, really?

Am I going to have to be the first person to say it? In 2010 for crying out loud?

"I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that..."

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@Psymon

"This point of view does preclude the obvious though. If this robot can be programmed to reliably perform a vasectomy reversal in less time than a human, then surely it's purpose can be broadened to encompas similar procedures?"

Indeed. Speculating a bit further the joining of various bits of tubing is a pretty key part of any sort of transplant operation or re-attaching any body part that's been snipped off by industrial accident/car crash//annoyed partner.

A system which *reliably* did this faster (hence reducing trauma) and possibly needed fewer large holes in the patient could become quite popular with hospitals and patients.

No doubt the medical establishment has major concerns about the ethics of abdicating responsability for life threatening surgery to a machine. Especially one that could perfom better than a low performing surgeon.

I gather that average merkins still view the medical profession with some awe. From some angles the AMA is also one of the worlds *most* restrictive trade unions.

Bit like the print unions in the UK before the coming of Rupert Murdoch and the move to Fortress Wapping.

Thumbs up for the achievement. I hope it will be the first of many.

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I suspect...

...That some may be reading ROBOT and thinkng that this operation no longer requires humans... Itsnt it actually robot assisted surgery? in this case its just a surgeon sitting at a terminal conrtoling robotic arms... not much new there.

Certinally not a bloody ROBOT in the way that every one seems to think it is.

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Paris Hilton

it’s cutting-edge

Ooo

Ouch, baby. Ouch! Yeah?

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Long term picture

Surely the main point here is not that this procedure is quicker or more expensive than its human counterpart, but rather that the robot is performing it in the first place. Presumably, by pursuing such lines of research, we will eventually end up with a robot that is cheap, fast and less prone to error than a human being.

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Paris Hilton

Yeah, right.

"I did Paris without interruption all of 2009 "

Now there's boasting.

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The "eyewatering" is all yours..

Quote: "Nonetheless he applauded Parekattil's willingness to try out new and eyewatering ideas."

You added the eyewatering hyperbole didn't you? You obviously keep onions down your pants. No-one else here is as eyewateringly scared of vasectomy as you seem to be.

Reversible after all is what it says on the tin. No need to cry.. Wipe your eyes.

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FAIL

Can I be the first to say...?

... that I want my surgeon to be human.

At least they understand the required delicacy of this sort of surgery, and they know that if there's a single mistake, they get the sack.

I would now like to dissociate myself from the above comment

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Bronze badge
Boffin

Wrong

Surgeons are far too highly paid to get the sack merely for making a small error.

To my mind, it is not the speed that matters so much here - as long as it is at least in the same ball park as a human surgeon - the question is how accurate it is - an improvement of even 10% may save an awful lot of lives.

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FAIL

Another FAIl

It wasn't that sack that I was referring to

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A nice procedure to start with.

Maybe once when this guy gets done perfecting the technology to undo vasectomies ... it can be applied to connecting veins and arteries where better and faster should save lives.

A friend of mine had bypass surgery and they only did about half the work they planned because they ran out of time. The longer they have your chest open the greater the risks.

Plus I image you have to cut less when you don't have to make room for human handiwork.

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Go

@Jerome 0

"Presumably, by pursuing such lines of research, we will eventually end up with a robot that is cheap, fast and less prone to error than a human being."

The last thing any well paid well connected group wants on their turf.

Expect lots of complaints along the lines "it's slow. It's dangerous. It takes the human element out of healthcare. Surgeons will no longer feel committed to their patients" (OK the last is a bit much)

Put simply the general feeling of any group that is finding some of its core skills being reduced by improved automation.

Progress is for everyone.

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Welcome

machines

Faster, more effective, probably safer and when all is said and done it will be cheaper too. It's about time overpaid surgeons had to start worrying about losing their jobs to machines and overworked techs. Sadly, surgeons will probably find a way to stay in the loop - as advisors or overseers or something.

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Gold badge
Happy

@ David Barrett

"That some may be reading ROBOT and thinkng that this operation no longer requires humans... Itsnt it actually robot assisted surgery?"

Quite true. However it is a start. The key parts seem to be it is currently $3k more than the manual process but takes 20mins less time and results ins sperm counts at 2 months postop of 54 Vs 11 (roughly 4.9x better) million for robot Vs manual which given most of these reversals for people who want to conceive is likely to be important.

Note it's the increaseed speed and presumably smaller openings being made that give less trauma and likely allow faster sperm count recovery.

I suspect that programming robotic assisted human work is *more* difficult than a straight robots only work environment. making that environment the *highly* variable confines of the human body even more so. Like the early GUI work discovering the process is a *lot* more subtle than people think and what can be done (visual and tactile cues, special robot subroutines to handle routine tasks or maintain something in a particual position) to lower the surgeons workload is tricky to work out.

We live in exciting times.

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Coat

Number 5 Alive!

Scrotal-Adapting INfertility Transformation

so THAT's what the SAINT in the Short Circuit films stood for...

Also presumably why he was called Johnny...

Mines the white lab coat with a remote control and a handful of tubes 'as fat as drainpipes' in the pocket

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