Robotic surgery is a method of performing surgeries using a small tool attached to a robotic arm that is controlled by a surgeon using a computer. With the help of the computer, surgeons are able to control the movement of robotic arms and perform surgical operations. Robots are used to help surgeons to access certain areas of the body that are too small for human hand to fit. They are also used to improve the precision of surgery thereby improve health outcomes (Otero et al 335). This paper focuses its attention on robotic surgery with an aim of providing more information on its historical development and use in health system. The first part of the paper starts by providing a historical timeline of the developments that preceded robotic surgery. It evaluates the three main technologies that preceded robotic surgery. The second part of the paper evaluates the critical roles that the three main technologies played in the emergence of robotic surgery.
1921: the term robot was mentioned for the first time in an R.U.R play
1974: the first industrial robot controlled by computer technology was developed
1983: the first surgical robot was developed in Vancouver, Canada. This robot was known as arthrobot.
1985: another robot known as PUMA 560 was developed. This robot was used in brain biopsy through CT guidance.
1988: PROBOT was developed in London to perform prostatic surgery (Spinoglio 2).
1992: ROBODOC was developed and approved by FDA
1945 – 1956: the first generation was developed
1956 – 1963: the second generation was developed
1964 – 1971: the third generation was developed
1971- To date: the fourth generation was developed
High resolution 3D camera
1986: digital video cameras were released into the market
1994: the FDA approved automatic camera support system
2000: high definition digital cameras were introduced into the video industry
Horizontal timeline (refer to the above timeline)
The role played by the predecessors
The surgical robots were instrumental in enabling surgeons to visualize the inner parts of the body. They were also used to hold laparoscopic cameras during surgical operations. Most of the robots that were used during the development of robotic surgery had three arms. One arm was used to hold the camera whereas the other two arms served as the extension of surgeons’ arms. They performed operations where surgeons could not perform operations. With the help of high resolution cameras, they also amplified small body parts and helped surgeons to perform operation in those body parts. Today, surgical robots act as an extension of surgeons’ eyes and hands (Bode 2). They help surgeons to visualize small body parts by magnifying those body parts using high resolution 3D cameras. Accordingly, with their help, surgeons are able to perform surgical operations with precision beyond their human capabilities. They also enable surgeons to be in control of surgical operations they would not be in control of.
Computer technology on its part was used to move the body parts of the surgical robots. In essence, robots could not perform surgical operations without the help of computers because they could not move on their own. As a result, the development of computer technology in the early 1980s was very instrumental in the development of robotic surgery. It would be worth noting that robotic surgery could not be possible in the absence of computer technology (Bode 2). Once computer technology was developed, it was possible to move the body parts of robots and consequently perform surgical operations using robots. Apart from moving the body parts of robots, computer technology was also used to control robots remotely in theatres (Alibeigi, Abdolhosseini and Abbas 1).
The high resolution 3D cameras played significant roles in the development of video systems used in robotic surgery. They video systems enabled surgeons to see clearly what they were doing during surgical operations. They particularly enabled surgeons to view body parts with precision and accurately. The development in video system as a result of high resolution 3D cameras resulted to the invention of endoscopic optics, MRI, CT and fluoroscopy that were used in robotic surgery (Doulgeris et al 357). Today, the video system is used to magnify small body parts. In so doing, they help surgeons to perform surgical operations with accuracy and more effectively.
The paper has established that robots, computer technology and high resolution 3D cameras played significant role in the development of robotic surgery. Robots helped surgeons to access small body parts that could be difficult to handle with human hands. They also handled body parts with precision than human hands could do. Computer technology on its part helped robots to function like human beings whereas high resolution 3D cameras magnified small body parts for surgeons to perform surgical operations with accuracy. Consequently, robotic surgery has played significant role in making surgical operations less invasive, easier and more precise.
Alibeigi, Peyman, Abdolhosseini, Mohammadreza, and Abbas Syed. The role of robotic surgery in minimally invasive surgery. J minim invasive surg sci, 3.1, 2014. Print.
Bode, C. Computer in surgery. Nigerian journal of surgical research, 6.1, 2004. Print.
Doulgeris, James et al. Robotics in neurosurgery: Evolution, current challenges, and compromises. Cancer control, 22.3, 2015. Print.
Otero, Javier et al. History, evolution and application of robotic surgery in urology. Urology robotic surgery, 60.4, 2007. Print.
Spinoglio, Giuseppe. Robotic surgery: Current applications and new trends. Milan: Springer, 2015. Print.