The scenario of healthcare delivery was updated by COVID-19. Healthcare personnel are at risk of contracting the infection, and in the operations theatre, there is an underlying fear of patients contracting the infection from health care staff. Consequently, for fear of contracting the virus and causing more complications, individuals have become apprehensive about getting some medical procedures performed.
Although the current norm/necessity is social distancing, robot assisted surgeries have proven to be a blessing in the field of surgical procedures. This technique of surgery is distinguished by shorter hospital stays, reduced loss of blood, social distancing (the surgeon sits on a console and directs the operation using robotic instruments), ensuring limited interaction between the patient and the staff. Robot assisted surgeries have provided surgeons tremendous control over the surgery, while on a computer-operated console, we can direct the entire procedure through master controls for hand movements and precision-guided robotic arms. .
Advantages during the COVID-19 timeframe
- Robot assisted surgery holds the surgeon and nurses away from the patient and, depending on the type of surgery, only the sterile tips of the robotic arms are within the mouth of the patient or some other location. The use of special smoke evacuators to remove the plume from the body of the patient also makes it a healthy surgery for all health care staff.
- There are fewer staff in operation theatres for robot-assisted surgeries. With the emergence of AI and robotics, direct physical interaction is removed from history and physical inspection before discharge. Some hospitals in the world also have robots that conduct tasks such as temperature control, blood sampling, washing, raising and moving patients from the ward to the theater, etc.
- Patients will go home early after robot-assisted surgery and there are no risks of infection as there is no direct tissue handling.
- Strict protocols before surgery are often followed in large corporate settings where robotic suites are available, such as RTPCR testing of every patient before admission and anaesthesia protocols specifically developed during the pandemic. To ensure protection, all these are followed.
- In this pandemic, the number of robot-assisted surgeries in all major hospitals around the nation has increased.
The way it works:
The surgeon is seated on a monitor that shows a magnified 3D image of the surgical site in a robotic/robot-assisted surgery. The surgeon utilizes master controls for hand gestures when operating on a computer-operated console. Through this, multiple precision-guided robotic arms procedures can be performed that carry and manipulate miniaturized instruments that are implanted into patients through keyhole-sized incisions. Via a small incision, a small video camera is inserted, which lets the surgeons get a magnified 3D view of the operating site. This is used in surgery for cancerous and non-cancerous diseases in the mouth, throat, chest and abdomen. It is also used for complicated hernia replacements and bariatric surgery.