Our era is marked by the use of robotics in all sectors of activity, including the health sector. Thus, we are talking about prostheses, plastic surgery, scanners and radiology. All of these are innovations for the world of medicine. Appreciated for their speed, convenience and quality, these technical innovations offer reliable results. Let’s take concrete examples: a person without limbs can use medical prostheses to walk normally. Let’s also remember the success of hearing aids. This means that the technology helps the human being considerably and solves enough cases out of the ordinary. Of course, like any new technique, the use of these materials requires a minimum of analysis and caution on our part in order to take full advantage of the benefits. This is why their use requires prior authorization from state officials to avoid accidents or false manipulation. Moreover, telemedicine is possible today. In the case when the patient is at a large distance from the medical practice, or when he is unable to move properly, medical consultations are provided on the websites. Beyond a simple consultation, follow-up, re-education and assistance are feasible at a distance.
Through technical progress and the evolution of research, specialists have developed a technology capable of performing the same tasks as a surgeon, the “Da Vinci”, the medical robot. Specialized in operations on the abdomen, this latest innovation from the medical world already has 1,750 units in use around the world in 2011 alone.
It can be said that 2003 was a year of glory for medicine in the United States with regard to the Da Vinci robot’s exploits. This moment marks the success of the first robotic intervention in prostatectomy. Since then, experiments have continued to multiply. For example, in 2008, the tongue cancer operation, and in the same year, the first cardiac resynchronizations in France were successful. In 2010, the operation of a thoracic tumour of a 5 year old child was successful, at the Nancy University Hospital in the region of France. In 2011, a kidney transplant was a world-class victory as it was a first in the history of robotics. We can also mention the Da Vinci intervention during a nephrectomy at the CHU of Toulouse and many other operations that are the pride of modern medicine.
The da Vinci has several advantages. First of all, it is equipped with manipulator arms with seven degrees of freedom, which facilitates its ease of use. It is also precise, since it is equipped with a tremor filter. We can therefore be sure of its reliability during surgery in the hospital. It also makes it easier for the surgeon to locate the corners of the patient’s body thanks to its three-dimensional visualization. And finally, it also benefits the practitioner in the sense that it avoids certain muscular disorders such as tendinitis. With the assistance of the DA Vinci, the doctor is easier in his intervention.
Surgery at a distance
Even if modern techniques could accomplish great works, many doctors still decide not to do so, perhaps because of their inability to master such tools. With the assistance of telecommunications and robotics, this technique becomes possible and has been demonstrated by some professionals in the world of medicine.
Overcoming fears of possible failure during his remote intervention, a French surgeon proved to his colleagues and to the rest of the world his ability to perform such an unusual feat. This is Professor Jacques Maresceaux, who is in fact a specialist in robotic surgery. In 2012, he will operate on a liver cancer patient by robotic surgery, guided by augmented reality. It is from instruments such as cameras giving a 3D image that the Doctor was able to communicate with his patient and complete his surgical work.
Being a world icon, Professor Maresceaux is a great inspiration to surgeons who, like him, would dream of performing such an innovative procedure.