First Remote Robotic Surgery

Robot-assisted surgery has become commonplace, now. The use of tools like the da Vinci system allows surgeons to work in less tiring, more comfortable positions, using a screen and very small tools to perform surgical operations that used to take longer. Fatigue was an issue, so doctors could complete fewer surgeries. The da Vinci system in particular was used in 570,000 operations in 2014 alone.

Initially, inventors imagined that robot-assisted surgery could be used on battlefields or other hard-to-reach places, with surgeons many miles away. In practice, they found that the lag time between the doctors’ movements and the robots’ movements was too great. Robot-assisted surgery turned out to be beneficial in many ways, but the idea of remote surgery had to be rejected.

That might have changed. Dr. Tejas Patel used a robot to insert a stent in the heart of a patient 20 miles away, performing the first remote heart surgery in the world.

The robot, a CorPath GRX, has previously been used at the side of the operating table to give surgeons multiple views of different parts of the heart and easier operation of the surgical tools. This remote surgery relied on a dedicated internet connection, additional cameras, and two human surgeons on standby at the side of the patient in case they were needed.

The internet connection is key; if the connection drops, the operation is severely threatened. The tests were conducted in India, where many patients are too far from a surgeon to receive treatment easily. The locations had excellent internet service, and all five subjects had completely successful outcomes.

Robots continue to become more valuable and more flexible. They are already crucial in manufacturing and will have increasing value in other areas of our lives.

Meanwhile, when you need support and service for Rexroth electric industrial motion control, we should be your first call. We offer phone support, field support, factory repair and reman. We service legacy components as well as the most current systems.

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