Surgical Technology: Progressive or Regressive?

The introduction of the da Vinci robotic surgical system marked a new frontier in medical innovation. Da Vinci procedures are meant to be “minimally invasive,” granting the patient access to greater precision than surgeons could provide. Despite these claims, some surgeons worry that increased technology isn’t necessarily beneficial to the patient. According to Dr. Martin Makary in an interview with CNN, the surgeon is better able to discern nuances in tissue by contacting tissue directly. If a surgeon relies solely on a robot, he or she will not be able to make these sensitive detections.

Da Vinci robots are used to perform an array of surgical procedures. Robots are used for surgeries dealing with delicate tissue in hopes that the healing process will be smoother because of the robot’s precision. Many women are offered robotic hysterectomies as well as other gynecologic and urologic procedures. Prostate cancer surgeries are popularly performed with da Vinci robotic technology. Da Vinci robots are also widely used for throat, neck, and back surgeries.

Surgeons performing these specific robotic procedures require extensive supervised training in order to successfully use the da Vinci machines. Some reports show, however, that surgeons learning to manage the technology only go through three supervised surgeries on an animal or a cadaver before operating on actual patients. This calls attention to the lack of oversight when it comes to regulating the practice of robotic surgery. The implications of under-training surgeons are daunting.

Many researchers believe that complications stemming from robotic surgery are underreported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or not reported in a timely manner. A review of reported incidents shows that reports were usually sent to the FDA after 30 days, though one report was filed almost 3 years after the surgical complication. Of 245 serious reported injuries related to the da Vinci robot, 71 injuries resulted in patient fatality.

2 Responses to “ “Surgical Technology: Progressive or Regressive?”

  1. I really love this style of blog, thanks for writing.

  2. I shared this with my friends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *