Just How Good are Robot Surgeons?

Surgeons have been using robots since the 1980s. Of course, early robots were nothing more than tools or instruments. They were used in the same way that a scalpel is used. Today’s surgical robots, however, are very sophisticated. They are still tools used by human doctors, but they are far more capable than the robots used 30 years ago. But just how good are robot surgeons?

A recent study determined that surgeries performed by robots are just as successful as those performed by human surgeons.

The findings

The study examined a group of prostate cancer patients. Some patients had their gland removed by a human surgeon, and some by a robotic surgeon. The study found that both groups of patients were doing equally as well after 3 months of recovery. However, those who underwent robotic surgery experience less pain after 1 week, better physical quality of life after 6 weeks, lost less blood during surgery, and spent less time in the hospital after surgery.

Robotic precision

It’s definitely interesting that patients of robot surgeons reported better results than traditional patients within 6 weeks; however, these numbers evened out over time. It could have been that the novelty of a robotic surgeon had some sort of placebo effect on the patients. What’s truly impressive about the study is that robotic surgery reduced the amount of blood lost during surgery, and shortened hospital recovery time.

This isn’t too surprising, though. Machines are incredibly accurate, precise, and reliable. That’s not to say that human surgeons aren’t any of those things, but not even the most skilled and experienced surgeon can match a machine’s steady hands.

What’s more, surgeons say that using robotic tools for surgery reduces fatigue and speeds up the process, making it less likely that the human surgeon will make errors. So that’s a double dose of precision.

So robot surgeons are good. But would you let one operate on you?

Are robotic surgeons neat? Definitely. Are they impressive? Absolutely. Would you trust one to carry out your operation? Well…

Despite statistics showing how effective robots are in surgery, many people wouldn’t trust a robot to perform surgery. Sure, they might trust a surgeon to use a robot, but once the surgeon steps out of the room, and your life is left in the hands of a robot, that trust vanishes.

We’re still a ways away from completely automated surgery, but it’s something that could one day happen.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!