Robot Surgeon, Ready for Operation!
Last January, for the first time, a robot completed laparoscopic surgery on soft tissue without human intervention. And, according to experts, much more successfully than human surgeons! But let’s point out that the patient was a pig. For such an operation to be performed on humans, it would have to go through a very complex permission process, so we still have time to see robot surgeons. The machine called Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR), developed by the researchers of John Hopkins University is regarded as an important step for performing fully autonomous surgeries on humans.
Soft tissue operations are very challenging for robots, because things can progress quite unpredictably at any time in these operations, and they need to be able to adapt very quickly to the situation at hand in order to overcome unexpected obstacles. The STAR system is able to change the operation plan in real time. “What makes the STAR special is that it is the first robotic system to plan, adapt, and execute a surgical plan in soft tissue with minimal human intervention,“ said researcher Hamed Saeidi, the study’s first author.
STAR is specialized in the intestinal anastomosis, which means is the connection of two normally divergent structures, intestinal loops in this case. The procedure requires a high level of repetitive motion and precision. So far, STAR managed to complete this procedure successfully on four pigs. The procedure is considered as one of the most challenging stages of gastrointestinal surgery as the tiniest mistake, such as a misplaced stitch or a slight hand tremor can lead to a leak that may lead to life-endangering complications for the patient. According to mechanical engineer Axel Krieger, one of the researchers, it will be possible to treat the patients much more successfully, regardless of the surgeon’s skills. Krieger predicts that the importance of automated robotic systems designed for such procedures will increase as laparoscopy applications become more common.
- 1. https://hub.jhu.edu/2022/01/26/star-robot-performs-intestinal-surgery/
- 2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220126143954.htm