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Doctors at the McGill University Health Center in Montreal, Canada have broken new ground in the medical technology field, performing the world’s first wholly robotic surgery last week. Using the DaVinci surgical robot and an anesthesia robot nicknamed McSleepy doctors oversaw the partial removal of a Canadian man’s prostate.
“The DaVinci allows us to work from a workstation operating surgical instruments with delicate movements of our fingers with a precision that cannot be provided by humans alone,” said Dr. Armen Aprikian, MUHC’s urologist in chief, who led the team controlling the DaVinci robot during the surgery. “This should allow for faster, safer and more precise surgery for our patients.”
Though surgeons have been performing robotically assisted surgeries since 1985, the combination of surgical and anesthetic robots, without direct human to patient contact during the operation, is a first.
The McGill University Health Center has performed robotic surgeries in the past, using the DaVinci surgical robot since the summer of 2009. The system uses four mechanical arms, controlled by a surgeon through a nearby console that provides precise controls and high definition 3D images.
More details after the jump…
McSleepy, the anesthesia robot used to put the patient under, was invented and developed by the MUHC Research Institute in 2008. During
the surgery, it was controlled by Dr. Thomas Hemmerling, who is an
anesthesiologist and a neuroscience researcher at the Research
According to Dr. Hemmerling, “Automated anesthesia delivery via
McSleepy guarantees the same high quality of care every time it is used,
independent from the subjective level of expertise. It can be
configured exactly to the specific needs of different surgeries, such as
“Collaboration between DaVinci, a surgical robot, and anesthetic
robot McSleepy, seemed an obvious fit,” said Dr. Hemmerling, “Robots in
medicine can provide health care of higher safety and precision, thus
ultimately improving outcomes.”
While this operation is a milestone in medical and robotics
technology, Dr. Hemmerling says that surgery performed exclusively by
robots is still in its infancy. “Obviously, there is still some work
needed to perfect the all robotic approach – from technical aspects to
space requirements for the robots. Whereas robots have been used in
surgery for quite some time, anesthesia has finally caught up.”
Those concerned about surgeries with no human involvement needn’t
worry, says Hemmerling. “Robots will not replace doctors but help them
to perform to the highest standards.”
Source: MUHC.ca via ScienceDaily
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