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Healthcare without a doubt is one of the most complicated and dynamic sectors — not only in India but ll across the world. Over the past couple of years, with the emergence of advanced technologies, the healthcare industry has evolved in such a way that today people are relying more on virtual medical assistance than moving to a hospital.
That is not all, today there are companies that are helping patients get valuable insights to their queries on the internet. If you take a close look at some of the online forums and social media, you would see that there are a substantial amount of real-life experiences of patients are available, which could be used to help other patients better understand the scenario. And this is what a company called VoCP is doing. Using sought after technologies like artificial intelligence, the company analyses millions of cancer patient’s conversations and provides meaningful insights for patients, caregivers, health-care providers, and payers. Isn’t that brilliant?
Further, to act as a cherry on top, in 2017 a study was where IBM Watson took just 10 minutes to analyze a brain-cancer patient’s genome. However, IBM didn’t just stop there, the system even suggests a treatment plan, demonstrating the potential of artificially intelligent medicine to improve patient care.
Challenges with traditional surgery
The world is witnessing a major transformation in terms of the Industrial Revolution and the rate of adoption of sought after technologies like artificial intelligence, and IoT is increasing significantly. While these technologies are making a significant impact on the healthcare sector, there is one more branch of technology that is going beyond human imagination and doing wonders. And that is Robotics.
But have you ever wondered why robots have emerged in the healthcare sector and that too as a surgeon? The answer to that is pretty simple. It is not surprising that no matter how sick people fall and no matter serious things get, people do not prefer to go for surgery at first, and there are several reasons for that. Traditional surgical methods are painful and post-surgery situations get little tough for patients to handle.
That is not the only scenario, traditional surgery pose some of the significant challenges. And the biggest challenge among all is the fact that surgeons need to use their hands to directly access the body; therefore, incisions are bigger and take time to heal. And this also leads to a significant amount of blood loss.
Even though the medical industry has transformed and become better more than ever, even in terms of surgery, solving almost all the challenges, there are still many instances when surgeons have failed to mitigate those same challenges. This where robotic surgery comes into the play.
Advantages of robotic surgery
No matter how many challenges are there in traditional surgery, it comes as no surprise that people would always be skeptical about getting the surgery done when they would get to know that their surgeon is a robot — robotic-assisted surgery might not be something you’ve thought about before.
However, there are many good reasons that make robotic surgery more advantageous than traditional methods. Here are some of the benefits:
Small incision: Without a doubt, Robotic surgery is one of the most feasible options when the surgery involves a procedure where the cut needs to be more to reach the deep areas of the body. As robotic arms are not as tremorous as a human had, it ensures precision. Also, it makes the incision smaller compared to traditional surgery.
Reduces blood loss: With small incisions and more precision, it is capable of carrying out the surgery with minimal blood loss. That is not all, it also reduces the pain — both during surgery and post-surgery.
Fast healing of the incision: It’s all link to the fact that the incision is not critical. Smaller the incision, less time it would take to heal and recover.
Technology time and again has shown that when it comes to filling voids and solving pain points, it can go all out. And if these benefits don’t prove that robotic surgeries are going to be the next big wave in healthcare; then what does?
Do you remember the meme “they did surgery on a grape”? Even though the meme went viral, one cannot deny the fact that the precision level of the grape surgery was top notch. The surgery was done by the da Vinci Surgical System, which is a robotic surgical system made by the American company Intuitive Surgical. The system was designed in such a way that I could perform complex surgeries with a minimally invasive approach. The surgical system was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000.
When Healthcare First Met Robotics
The use case of robotics in the healthcare sector is incredible —, especially in surgery. And the collaboration of robotics and surgery dates back to 1985 when a robot-assisted surgery was done using a robotic arm tagged as PUMA 560. The surgical arm was used in a delicate neurosurgical biopsy and the arm allowed surgeons to successfully carry out the surgery, with top-notch precision. And this event inspired another surgery in 1987 where the same PUMA system was used to perform a transurethral resection.
Talking about robotic surgery, India is one such country that is working relentlessly to lead the race as another famous event of using robotics in surgery happened in India back in 1998. A team of doctors from the Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre (EHIRC) used a robotic arm to fix a hole in the patient’s heart.
Today, the nation and its healthcare sector have gone all out to embrace robots in surgical events. According to a source, India’s surgical robotics industry is estimated to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20% by 2025 to hit the size of $350 million.
New age use cases of robots in surgery
While at the get-go, robotic surgeries include only robotic arms, today things have gone way too far. Robotic surgeries nowadays involve technologies like AI and ML and becoming extensively automated.
One of the best examples of this Suturing, the process of sewing up an open wound or incision. In 2013, a team of researchers from the University of California at Berkeley published a research paper on the application of an algorithm for automated suturing performed by robots. Later, the algorithm was also tested on two robot models — the Raven II robot and the PR2 robot. And talking about success rate, the robots recorded an overall rate of 87% successful suturing.
Furthermore, in 2016, research from John Hopkins University along with some other researchers developed a robotic surgical system called STAR. It was basically a system that would integrate 3D computer imaging and sensors in order to help guide the robot through the suturing process.
However, things didn’t stop there — year by year new innovations kept coming. Fast forward to 2019, the Monarch, developed by Auris Health Inc., is the first of its kind surgical robotics platform that incorporates flexible robotics, micro-instrumentation, data science, and other technologies for therapeutic and diagnostic bronchoscopic procedures.
Today, robots are fast becoming a vital part of our daily lives — just like mobile phones. And over the years, with its advancements, this fascinating technology has proved that they are not only making other industries seamless bub also making things possible that surgeons likely didn’t even dream about a couple of decades ago.
However, it is not an easy task to build a robot that can do surgery. If you want to work in the domain of robotics and get your hands on working with such amazing technologies, you not only need basic computer science knowledge but extensive amount of knowledge in AI, ML, programming, and mathematics. Also, you need to have top-notch cognitive thinking ability if you want to implement a robot for a type of surgery.
And that’s a wrap! Hope this article helped you! Also, If you seek to upskill your AI & Machine Learning skills, check out Manipal Pro Learn’s AI & ML Courses here. Manipal Prolearn courses equip you with extensive knowledge on AL & ML by covering all the essential concepts, case studies & projects in the domains.