A Robot or a Surgeon — You Choose

On one level, robot-assisted surgery makes sense. A robot’s slender arms can reach places human hands cannot, and robot-assisted surgery is spreading to other areas of medicine. But robot-assisted prostate surgery costs more — about $1,500 to $2,000 more per patient. And it is not clear whether its outcomes are better, worse or the same.

Full article on robot-assisted surgery.

Comments (5)

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  1. Tom H. says:

    Does a robot ever leave a foreign object in the body? A sponge? A scapel? If not, the robot might be preferable on grounds of safety.

  2. Bruce says:

    The price of the robot is going to come down as more of them are produced. I assume the robot doesn’t pay payroll or income taxes. So no employer withholding.
    I assume it can’t file grevances, sue for sexual harassment or file discrimination complaints. I assume it doesn’t need health insurance. Personal problems at home can’t be an issue.

    So overall, the robot looks fairly attractive.

  3. Nancy says:

    What does the robot do when the patient’s condition does not respond robotically to the surgery? (No pun intended.)

  4. Ken says:

    Another good thing: I assume robots are impervious to insults and slights and never get their feelings hurt or feathers ruffled.

  5. Devon Herrick says:

    Robotic surgery is really remote-controlled surgery where the surgeon sits at a workstation nearby. It’s typically minimally invasive – inserting small probes through incisions in place of hands and scalpel. The technology was originally developed for battlefield surgery.

    The DaVinci surgical robot has four articulated arms (three hold surgical instruments). The day may come when a surgeon working from India could operate on an American patient by remote control.