Could robots be better surgeons than humans?
"I tell my residents that they are going to be the last generation of human surgeons," Dr. Oshri Barel, head of Gynecology at Samson Assuta University Hospital, states. "In 40 years, surgery will be done by self-operating robots."
In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, one of the most remarkable transformations has been the integration of robotics into the world of surgery. The marriage of cutting-edge technology with the skilled hands of surgeons has ushered in a new era of precision, safety and innovation.
Dr. Barel is optimistic about using robotics in laparoscopic surgery, a non-invasive procedure that allows surgeons to operate without making large incisions in the patient. Robotics are currently used to aid the surgeon's skills, and the help that robots can provide is widely acknowledged.
"It is much better for the patient," Dr. Barel explained. "It allows for a quicker recovery. The robots are a tool that will enable the surgeon to use 3D imaging, to have a broader range of motions, and to be more precise and accurate. Today we are experiencing a type of augmented reality combined with surgery.”
The robots are first taught the surgical steps one by one, the doctor explained. Then, the steps can be strung together and the robot can learn to perform an entire surgery.
Robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery does have many advantages, including less postoperative pain, a smaller incision, and shorter recovery time for the patient. Moreover, a given surgeon can only perform a certain number of operations in his or her lifetime. On the other hand, robots that are connected through artificial intelligence can perform innumerable operations and each one can be better than the one before as the machine learns.
“Theoretically, they could become better surgeons,” Dr. Barel said.
“This could allow us to get the best possible surgical results.”
Moreover, he added: "Robots don't get upset, tired, nervous or angry.”