Maybe it is slower now, but it is a lot easier to speed up a machine without harming the outcome than it is to speed up a human. In surgery, minutes and sometimes seconds count.
Surgeons beware, your jobs may not have a long-term future after a robot managed to stitch together live soft tissue better than its fleshy counterparts. A paper published in Science Transitional Medicine on Wednesday detailed how the "Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot" (STAR) was put to the test, stitching together the intestines …
Many years ago - at school, to be precise, so that's 34+ years ago - I saw a video (actually, now I think of it, it was 16mm film) of a surgeon sewing a heart into place during a transplant. It looked like a sewing machine at work he was so fast.
But, I've absolutely no doubt that a robot - or more likely for the time being, a machine under the direction of a surgeon - could be a lot faster, and you use more advanced stitching techniques, e.g. like a sewing machine use two "threads" to make the join firmer, and get much finer stitching than most human surgeons can get.
I've been lucky - my appendix scar is all but invisible, thanks to the skill of the surgeon who stitched me (it was the surgeon, not a nurse, according to his registrar), but bring it on - I think it will be, in the right circumstances, a very great advance.
...who is somewhat cynical about my surgical colleagues (insert joke about wiping knuckles here - surgeons are usually considered as less intelligent than other fields in medicine) I have to say that their technical skills are awesome. It always looks much easier than it actually is.
I'd point out that leaving someone open for an extra 28 minutes is clearly harmful... so a bit of speeding up to be done first.
Icon for after operating, not before -->
They will cite speed. The machines will get faster. At some point they will be faster and more accurate than a human.
They will cite safety. The first 16 patients to repair shrapnel damage to the heart killed all the patients. However they were all pigs.
They will say it doesn't care about it's patients. And?
What they won't say is it makes skills they have have spent hundreds of $1000 acquiring reproducible and (ultimately) the only surgeons you will need will be those to develop new surgical procedures. A much smaller number.
I think a lot of those skills and new techniques are taught post surgery as well. My friend works in surgical sales, (actually has played with the Da Vinci Bot as well), and she has to learn new surgical techniques to teach the surgeons especially when its new developments being put in. She used to work for a company that developed replacement disc for the back, her training consisted of being taught how to do that operation first on dead pigs, then on cadavers before showing surgeons the new technique.
Not sure why the skills being made easier and cheaper by robots is a bad thing though.
I don't think Surgeons will fight this.
Unlike taxi drivers, they offer a level of decision making, skill and education that makes replacing them very difficult indeed. What this robot aims to do is to automate some of the post-surgery tidying up (stitching up is normally currently left to the juniors, even often nurses).
This isn't a replacement for surgeons as much as a new tool for them to use.
This is just a small part of what surgical robots can do. Eventually, they will be put together (and I don't see that being all that far away - say 50 years for a fully-functioning tin surgeon). I teach medical students in one of my roles at the moment, and I tell them that is is the "soft" skills (those involving human interaction) that are going to be marketable by the end of their careers, not their physical skills. Many of them are already aware of it - the ones wanting to be orthopaedic surgeons look worried though :-)
This is a fancy tool (instrument) that a surgeon will use. It is no more a "robot surgeon" than a pair of forceps.
There is enough variety in the mechanical details of animals that fully automated surgery would require very exceptional robotic systems and algorithms to cope with all the unknown variables before even a simple operation could be carried out without a human "driver" controlling & guiding the machine.
It would be far easier to make robots to autonomously perform different tasks common in motor mechanics, because every car of a particular make and model has all its parts in exactly the same place, the components usually react completely predictably, and the mechanic does not have to constantly monitor how well the engine is running while working on it.
You would think that by now a busy service garage would have a robotic system where you could simply drive your car onto a machine, which would take off the wheels and fit new tyres to them before replacing the wheels with no human intervention.
just another step in an existing trend
three years my son broke both radius and ulna when he fell off the top of a fence (13 year old kids playing....)
His medical records make it clear that the repair surgery (two plates) was carried out by a robot
as for gluing.....my appendix scar is around seven inches, not exactly keyhole surgery, but even that was glued together.
Surgeon fucks up=possible action suit, so apart from the human aspect of caring for the patient, he/she wouldn't want the bad press.
Robot fucks up=developers shrug shoulders, and point to the terms and conditions that the patient signed. The pint is what I'm betting that people don't even read them for Flash updates.
I'm guessing that when this goes live, the NHS will give you a robot by default, unless you go private, or the paramedic that brought you in decides it's outside the range of 'bottable conditions.
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