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 3: what’s next?
Robotics is becoming a common sight in surgical procedures. But that doesn’t mean that we’ve seen the end of its possibilities. On the contrary, now is the time for the field to expand and specialize even further.
Surgeons are discovering the possibilities of robotics and look at it from their own expert perspectives. Their insights can lead to even more specialized robot models with capabilities that focus on specific intervention types.
Medical visualization is growing in importance in surgical robotics. This releases a myriad of opportunities for image enhancement.
Augmented reality and artificial intelligence can be used to recognize and highlight bodily structures, to calculate and visualize abnormal tissue shapes, and much more. It’s surprising how seeing less directly can actually lead to seeing more, thanks to technology.
Shorter procedures, faster recovery, less readmission – the advantages of minimally invasive surgery are beyond doubt. That also means that the quest does not stop here. Can we take a next step, for example towards non-invasive procedures?
Research into nanorobots is already advancing: tiny, biocompatible technology that can enter the body via, for example, the bloodstream or ingestion. They find their way to the issue, fix it and then leave the body or self-degrade. This kind of technology could have an immense impact for organs that still prove difficult to reach, even with surgical robots. Think of deep brain surgery, for example.
Of course, in today’s common surgical practice, we’re not that far yet. Also, with any kind of technology come challenges which need to be tackled to guarantee safe and efficient surgeries.
72% of OR staff struggle with access and using the right visual data during a procedure.* Pre-op scans, biopsy results, patient information – in many hospitals, these are stored in separate systems that don’t easily interact with each other. And during the procedure itself, sometimes multiple video and data sources need to be visible side-by-side. In other words, data needs to be integrated in a smart way into the workflow.
83% of OR staff and admin indicate that maintenance and troubleshooting in the OR is a challenge.* It’s important that they can reliably and efficiently monitor and manage the technology components in their operating rooms.
63% of OR staff consider training a challenge.* Even with technologies that empower surgical teams and simplify workflows, there’s a learning curve. Hospitals need to find the time to train their staff, while also making sure that operating rooms are used at maximum efficiency.
Technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence and surgical robotics are shifting the video ecosystem in the operating room – from content generation to output.
Barco’s global team of healthtech experts and engineers has 30+ years of experience in the technologies that drive innovation in robotic surgery today.
* Study by The MarkeTech Group, 2017