Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) refers to any form of surgery that works through small incisions. Here’s the thing about small incisions: it hurts less, results in fewer complications (and hence, less scarring), and most importantly, the usage of unsightly plasters can be avoided. The benefits of having MIS are obvious but it has its share of detractors too.
Firstly, surgeons are human beings, so it is just not possible for them to suddenly know how to perform MIS. It takes an extremely long time for them to learn the techniques of MIS. Secondly, surgeons lose tactile sensation when performing MIS. Thirdly, the instruments and angles in which MIS can be performed are seriously limited. There is probably nothing we can do about the first problem. As for the latter two problems, the solution lies in the field of robotics.
Much research is currently being put in the Da Vinci surgical system. Its purpose is as follows:
- To restore tactile sensation
- To restore dexterity
These can be achieved through a force feedback system.
Also, the Da Vinci surgical system is able to mimic the actions of the surgeon’s hands. Natural movements by a surgeon’s hands will be translated to precise micro-movements by “motion scaling” software. Essentially, this means that there are now fewer risks involved in surgery that requires extreme precision such as nerve repair. The reduction in risks is due to the fact that unlike the Da Vinci system, hands of a human surgeon will suffer from tremors as adrenaline courses through his veins.
If you have issues with having a robot operate on your body, I have this to say to you, “Just sign the indemnity form and let the doctors do what needs to be done! You wouldn’t know the difference anyway since you’ll be unconscious from the general anesthesia!”
On a more serious note, let it be known that Drs. David Yuh and Allison Okamura at Johns Hopkins are working very diligently to implement sensory feedback capabilities on the Da Vinci system.
I wish, for the sake of mankind, that they succeed.
Brought to you by,
Nicholas Koh (U045902U)
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