31 août 2023

Robotic surgery: a short introduction


Robotics is disrupting surgery in many ways, being used for more interventions every year. Time for a deepdive in this not-so-scifi-anymore field. Part 1: what is robot assisted surgery and why are people using it?

Robot (r)evolution

As with many technological innovations, the idea of the robot is way older than the word itself. Greek legends speak of mechanical handmaidens made of gold, Chinese history mentions humanoid automatons, and Islamic scientists developed water clocks and moving machines in the shape of peacocks. The idea of human-made devices that can operate on their own has fascinated countless generations. 

Since the successful introduction of the term ‘robot’ in the 1921 play Rossum’s Universal Robots by Czech playwright Karel Čapek, much has evolved. Until then, the very popular word ‘automaton’ could refer to any mechanically automated device. 

In contrast, the word ‘robot’ has always been much more closely associated with human beings: in how they look and in what they can do. In the Slavic languages, ‘robota’ means ‘work’. An etymology that is quite self-explanatory if we look at robots today. 

One of the robots from Karel Čapek's play 'Rossum's Universal Robots'

Robots and robotic surgery today 

Nowadays, robots are massively performing extremely precise jobs or jobs that, for humans, would be heavy, dangerous, or repetitive. You can find them all over the world: in factories, warehouses, transport hubs, space stations, laboratories, army bases, and … hospitals. 

In operating theaters, robotic surgery is becoming a common sight. It’s been a growing field in healthcare since the early days of the Arthrobot (1984), ROBODOC (1992), and ZEUS (1994) surgical systems. Having evolved from an experimental to a mature and proven technology, there is no doubt that robots are shaping the future of clinical interventions.

Supporting safer surgery and better results

Within healthcare, surgery is an area that is extremely impactful for patients. It is no wonder that this field of medicine has always been very progressive in adopting new technologies that promise more efficient procedures and faster recoveries, with a high degree of consistency over time.

Surgical robots prove a big success because they tackle just this point: patients go home faster, healthier and with less risk of post-op complications. Robotics enables safer surgeries and better results.

Robotic surgery also opens new doors. It enables movements and procedures that are more precise and complex than the ones performed with a standard approach. This, in turn, helps medical professionals find new ways of treating health issues.

robotic surgery

We can support your project in robotic surgery

Digital surgery is on the rise and surgical robots are a vital part in this ecosystem. The market for surgical robots is growing at an enormous pace, to the benefit of patients and caregivers globally.

Barco’s global team of healthtech experts and engineers has 30+ years of experience in the technologies that drive innovation in robotic surgery today. From 2D and 3D visualization to connectivity, management and training, we work with medical device manufacturers and integrators around the world to fulfill their needs. Don’t find what you are looking for? Then we can also develop your custom project for you.