Are robots in surgery better than regular ol’ hands?
A review of published research found no clear advantage to surgery with existing robotic platforms, which are costly and increase operation duration. The authors suggest that with refinement, competition, and cost reduction, future versions have the potential to improve clinical outcomes. The findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Robotic surgery is a form of minimally invasive surgery that aims to overcome the limitations inherent to both laparoscopy and open surgery. However, the description of current platforms as “robotics” is a misnomer because they lack any automation, but rather are surgeon-controlled devices. The initial cost of the most prevalent robotic platform is at least $1.5 million, plus additional costs associated with training and maintenance. In order to provide value, robot-assisted surgery must demonstrate clinical benefit to justify the steep financial burden.
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