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Pros and Cons of Robotic Surgery: To Choose or Not to Choose

23 May 2014


Robotic surgeries have undoubtedly been on the rise in the recent past. Even so, patients should weigh the positives and negatives of the procedure before arriving at a decision on whether or not to undergo the robotic procedure. A single approach does not fit the bill for all conditions that need to be surgically treated. Consulting a surgeon on the risks, benefits, and complications of the procedure is crucial before arriving at a decision.

Advantages of robotic surgery


    • Robotic surgeries make use of dual camera systems, which can provide the surgeon with a clearer view of the area of operation of the surgeon. The enhanced image can help the surgeon to easily maneuver the equipment in tight spaces.
    • A robotic surgery is especially, beneficial in procedures that require precision in surgical movements such as neurological or orthopedic procedures. The jointed instruments make way for easy maneuvering through wrist and finger motions that can improve the dexterity of process.
    • The deviations of hand movements are reduced through computerized robotic procedures, which decrease the occurrences of tremor.
    • The ergonomic positioning of the console provides better comfort during the surgery.
    • Robotic surgeries allow surgeons to carry out procedures from remote locations by dictating instructions from a computer console. This makes tele-surgeries a reality aiding patients to undergo surgical procedures successfully even when the medical practitioner is not in the vicinity.
    • Surgeons often become fatigued while carrying out multiple procedures without any breaks, which can in turn affect their concentration. This can be strenuous to the surgeon and may reflect on their maneuvering skills. Robotic surgeries reduce and even eliminate the concerns that sprout from such instances.
    • Patients also stand to benefit from lesser blood loss as the incisions made during the procedure are small. This also lessens the occurrence of large surgical scars after the surgery.
    • Patient spends a shorter time in the hospital as part of their post-op recovery. Also, they do not have to rely heavily on post-op pain medications.

Disadvantages of robotic surgeries


    • The high purchase and maintenance costs of robotic technology as well as surgical equipment reflect on the expenses borne by the patient as well.
    • Surgical staff should be adequately trained in the usage of the robotic equipment to assist the surgeon during the robotic surgical procedure.
    • Inadvertent injuries can occur if the surgeon is not equipped with advanced laparoscopic skills to perform surgeries.

Why have the robotic surgery numbers shot up?


The number of robotic surgeries conducted all over the world in 2000, were 1,000. Their numbers climbed up to 360,000 during 2011 and was recorded to be 450,000 in 2012. The array of benefits that robotic surgeries have to offer is one of the predominant causes for the surge in robotic surgery numbers.

Patients may also save on the overall expenses of the procedure by choosing the robotic alternative. Hysterectomy procedures carried out through various techniques were recorded to be as follows: robotic procedure - $49,526, abdominal procedure - $43,622, laparoscopic procedure - $28,312 and vaginal procedure - $31,934. Despite the high costs, patients save on other expenses such as post-op pain medication prescriptions and blood transfusions for the surgery.

Thailand, India and the United States are growing as popular destinations for medical tourists who seek to avail robotic surgical procedures. The surgical facilities in these medical tourism destinations have highly credible medical practitioners with avant-garde technology that promise quality medical procedures. The affordability of the surgical procedures is another factor that makes these locations sought-after amongst medical tourists.





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