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Top Docs Review Robotic Surgery

Robotic surgery may offer a less invasive approach to reduce the risk of surgical complications, while resulting in a shorter hospital stay and an enhanced recovery process when compared to the “open” surgical approach for those who qualify. With a ten year track record of availability in medicine, the use of a surgical Robot holds promise for many medical procedures. Using a surgical Robot to help facilitate surgery may offer the most sophisticated approach for select medical procedures today.  Robotic assisted surgery has been used successfully in general surgery, urology, head and neck surgery, sleep apnea treatment, select cancer treatment cases, select cardiothoracic areas, and in gynecology for many procedures, including hysterectomy.   The technology has been designed for use in general, urologic, gynecologic, transoral, cardiac, thoracic, and pediatric procedures.

The right option for your surgical procedure depends upon numerous factors, including, but not necessarily limited to: the availability of the technology to treat your condition, your surgeon’s preference and experience, the technique that the surgeon has focused on in his or her practice and your choice after being presented with all options. So, we turned to leading surgeons to explore the path of Robotic Surgery.

What Does the Future Hold for Robotic Assisted Surgery?
“The use of surgical Robots during surgery will eventually transform medicine.  For now, the technology is a facilitator of the surgeon’s skills during surgery. In the future, Robotic technology is on track to augment the surgeon’s senses in terms of what the surgeon sees, feels, and perceives.”  explains Dr. Sweet of Minneapolis, MN is Associate Professor, Urologic Surgeon at University of Minnesota and President of the Society for Laparoendoscopic Surgeons. Dr. Sweet is also on the Board of Directors for the Society for Laparoendoscopic Surgeons; and is the Director, Medical School Simulation Programs for the University of Minnesota, and is a recent member of the American Urologic Association Laparoscopy, Robotics and New Technology Committee.

Gold Standard Technology and Expertise Go Hand in Hand
“The volume of cases that a surgeon has performed in Robotic Assisted Surgery has an impact on the outcome of surgery.  Simulator technology offers the opportunity for ongoing practice by allowing surgeons to perform Robotic techniques without involving patients. In fact, surgeons may have access to simulation technology 24 hours a day, seven days a week, allowing for surgeons to enhance select skills more quickly and accurately. We have found that cognitive and technical errors were reduced fourfold in a dry lab setting and based on these results we are testing warm-ups for patient surgery.” explains Thomas  Sean Lendvay, MD, FACS, Co-Director of the Seattle Robotic Surgery Center at the Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Foundation.

Robotic Surgery Costs May Be Lower
“Robotic Assisted Kidney Cancer Surgery (or Robot Assisted Partial Nephrectormy-RPN)  is a safe operation that has rapidly replaced the laparoscopic approach as the most common minimally invasive approach for partial nephrectomy. It has shown superior results compared to open surgery, and was better than laparoscopy in every aspect but hospital costs.” explained Khurshid R. Ghani, M.D. of Vattikuti Urology Institute and lead author of a recent Henry Ford Medical Center Study. Considering the Henry Ford findings, researchers tracked complication rates in over 38,000 patients whereby nearly 70% had open surgery, nearly 24% had Robot Assisted Partial Nephrectomy (RPN) and a little more than 9% had the laparoscopic approach between 2008 and 2010. The results were revealing as complications may result in added medical expenses and downtime from work, as follows.

• Patients undergoing RPN were least likely to receive a blood transfusion, while those who had open surgery were most likely to need a blood transfusion.
• The same was true for developing complications after surgery or requiring a prolonged hospital stay.
• Only those undergoing RPN were less likely to develop complications during surgery.
In 2010, robot assisted partial nephrectomy (RPN) increased by more than 45%, far overshadowing the other two types.

Your Health Access Alert
In accordance with the Affordable Care Act, hospitals will no longer be reimbursed for re-admissions due to complications. This is a fundamental change where hospitals will be paid for positive outcome as opposed to being paid for each surgery regardless of the results.

Next, Visit Robotic Surgery: What’s the Advantage?

It is important to recognize that  there are benefits and major complication risks associated with all medical procedures. All information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.