We’ll admit it: “Robotic surgery” sounds a bit like something from a Sci-Fi movie. But the reality is that it’s actually a commonly used surgical technique that offers patients a less-invasive way to undergo surgery.
When people hear that robotic surgery may be an option for surgical treatment of a medical condition, though, they often have many questions about what to expect. How does robotic surgery work? What are the benefits of this type of surgical procedure? Is every person in need of surgery a candidate for robotic surgery?
Let’s answer those questions.
How Robotic Surgery Works
Contrary to the way it sounds, your surgical procedure is not performed by a robot. In fact, the technology would be better named “robot-assisted” surgery.
Robotic surgery provides surgeons with an exceptional set of tools designed to make their jobs easier.
During a robot-assisted surgery, a surgeon uses a small camera and instruments to operate rather than requiring a big, traditional incision. The surgeon visualizes the operative field with a 3 dimensional, magnified image and utilizes tiny instruments to manipulate the tissues with dexterity.
The robotic tools move in real-time with the surgeon’s hands, allowing him or her to make tinier, more intricate movements in the body than would be possible with actual hands and wrists.
The Benefits of Robotic Surgery
There are multiple benefits for the patient undergoing robotic surgery. First and foremost, your procedure is performed with small incisions, rather than the large incision required of traditional surgery.
Those smaller incisions, in turn, typically lead to even more benefits, including:
- Limited scarring
- Quicker return to daily life
- Reduced blood loss
- Reduced need for prescription pain medications
- Reduced risk of infection
- Shorter hospital stays
Benefits typically relate to the recovery from the surgical procedure, while outcomes from traditional and robotic surgery are similar.
Who’s Eligible for Robotic Surgery?
While robotic surgery and other minimally invasive options are becoming increasingly more common, they are not options for every patient or every surgical procedure.
In some cases, traditional surgery is a necessity—or is simply the best option for the treatment of a complex medical condition. Ultimately, the decision about whether robotic surgery is right for you and your medical needs is one you should make in consultation with your surgeon and medical team.