December 1, 2022

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Will robots replace surgeons in the operating room?

We won’t be run by an Android surgeon for many years to come, but the technology continues to advance and the use of robots in the operating room will change as well. Possible applications will certainly increase: researchers from the Johns Hopkins University Department of Ophthalmology in Baltimore (USA), for example, believe that robotic surgery can also help ophthalmologists perform surgeries on the retina and cataracts, because precise movements are possible . Using automated tools, they will allow more accurate and safe interventions.

mechanical arms. Or, again, robotic platforms are being tested which, thanks to the maneuverability of the robotic arms, use natural entry routes: in the future the surgery will be without scars because it will be possible to access the area to be operated on by entering through the mouth or other natural openings. says Franca Melfi, professor of thoracic surgery from the University of Pisa and director of the Interdisciplinary Robotic Center at the University Hospital of Pisa.

“In practical terms, this means that it will be possible to ‘see’ the surgical field more clearly in order to accurately intervene, but also that it will be possible to make a diagnosis during surgery, thanks to the detailed 3D reconstructions or the possibility of analyzing the tissue being removed directly. while working on it.”

Tomorrow’s surgeons. It is also certain that robotic surgery platforms will not replace real-life surgeons. But it will be necessary to train them. “A huge problem is the shortage of surgeons around the world,” Melfi explains. “It is estimated that more than 2.3 million are missing and as many as 17 million people are dying due to not being able to access basic surgery, which are simple and routine interventions, precisely because of the lack of professionals. Robotic platforms could also be key to compensating for the lack of training, as they allow this to be done remotely: a surgeon can already remotely communicate with one or two thousand colleagues to show, thanks to the robot, how to perform surgery. All this will help to ensure greater equality of access to surgery, for example in developing countries, and strengthening the training of women will solve the gender gap that still exists in operating rooms.”

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Women in the operating room. “When I started, I was a whitefly and still, although more than half of the medical students are women, few dare to work as surgeons, it is still considered a mistake in the prerogative of men because physical strength is believed to be required,” continues Melfi. “It is not so, surgery is precision, tenderness, precision: all feminine qualities, not to mention that women are highly organized and team-working, and above all stubborn, more than occasions to stay on the operating table for hours if necessary. Therefore, the surgery of the future will be for women, not robots: no algorithm will ever be able to take into account all the innumerable elements of variance inherent in every patient, in every intervention. Machines will always be smarter and help us, but there will always be a man to guide them. In fact a woman » concludes my file.