Robotic-assisted surgery has been around for a while, but up till now, it’s never been performed with just one incision.
Yet that’s what happened at Beaumont Hospital in Troy, Mich., where on Feb. 22, a team of surgeons removed a gallbladder with just a single incision, the first time ever for robotic surgery, according to a story by Andrew Choi. The surgery left no scars and was performed through the belly button with a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, according to Choi.
The surgical team, directed by the chief of general surgery at Beaumont, Bruce McIntosh, M.D, performed three robotic surgeries that involved belly button incisions of less than one inch for removal of the gallbladder in local patients.
Approved only recently by the FDA, this was the first time the intuitive da Vinci Robotic Surgical System was used to remove a gallbladder, according to the story.
Robotic surgery is seen as better than traditional surgery because it is less invasive, with less pain and a much quicker recovery period, usually done in one-day surgery, and is being used in everything from prostatectomies to hysterectomies to organ transplants.
Not everyone agrees, though. A study in January found the same complication rates among women treated for endometrial cancer whether a robot was used or not, and the high-tech approach costs $1,300 more on average than traditional surgery.
Surgeons like it, according to Choi, because it’s more convenient and allows them to “perform the entire surgery by sitting and viewing the 3-D, high-definition images” on an operating room computer, then moving the robotic arms equipped with surgical instruments to do the surgery.
Whether surgeons agree or not, robotic-assisted surgery is here to stay. In fact, a set of seven robotic surgery systems has recently been developed which can be used by all major medical research labs in the United States.
Edited by Rich Steeves