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Robots in Ophthalmology - Article Example

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Robots in Ophthalmology

Sociologist Alvin Toffler may have travelled through time and witness the future when he said, "Technology makes more technology possible". He is right, as after thirty-seven years of rapid technological advancement here were are facing a what he called "abrupt collision with the future" (Toffler 1970), and practically living with these amazing technologies created to make life easier in our homes, built to run our industries, and designed to perform medical care to save lives. Technology in the medical field has come along way; molecular and biometrics, wave technology, nanotechnology, and robot aided surgery is now possible (Combs 2005). As nanotechnology makes it possible to build up materials and systems to produce new physical, chemical and biological properties out of existing common materials, robotics are all about computer controlled mechanical devices built to mimic human movements and intelligence (Woods 2007).Advanced robotic products such as surgical robots are now common in operating rooms of large medical centres, and it is recognized as a dynamic surgical tool for enhancing human surgeon's dexterity in less invasive surgical procedures Although their high cost prohibits general use, initial applications of these robots considerably prove their clinical benefits and surgical potential. In general, intelligent surgical robots main advantages are its ability to register medical images accurately, to move consistently without exhaustion and tremor, work in a hazardous environments unsuitable to human surgeons, and their ability to reposition instruments swiftly and precisely through complicated trajectories or on top of numerous targets. The precision and steadiness of these robots is what makes them ideal for surgical procedures particularly in delicate eye surgery (Webster and Li 2003).
Although robots are precise and steady, there is no evidence that they can perform cataract removal surgery alone or perform any surgery independently. They merely serve as robotic mechanical arms for ophthalmologist performing remote surgery through a three dimensional virtual-reality console. With hands and head partly inserted inside the console, the surgeon moves his hands as if he is directly performing the surgery while the robot is simultaneously imitating the movement of the surgeons arm and physically performing the operation. Surgical robot now is more like an interventional piece of technology than a self-sufficient intelligent machine. For instance, the popular surgical robot, the da Vinci Surgical System (see Fig. 1), priced at more than one million dollar, is just a three arm (with 4th optional arm) mechanical machine equipped with a variety of electronic hardware who perform surgery by following instantaneous instructions from a surgeon while imitating his hands and arms movements. There is no known technology yet that is capable of virtually emulating a human surgeon's competence and senses particularly in the field of ophthalmology. Although ophthalmic surgery with a robot can increase precision, speed, and eliminate tremor, they do not have substantial or convincing advantage similar to robots in other surgical fields (Roach 2007). For instance, using the same da Vinci Surgical robot in heart surgery provides a better alternative to customary chest cracking technique, lengthy incision, bone cutting, and ripping of the ribs. Since "cutting people open is no longer the focus of modern surgery" ( Darzi 2007).The success rate of robot assisted closed chest surgery approach and less invasive surgeries shows significant positive results particularly in patient's health and quick recovery; since they do not have to endure the excruciating traditional surgery procedures with large incisions involved (Goldschmidt 2007).
However, surgical robot in general is still in a transition stage and used primarily as a tool. They still do not have the capability and intelligence of a real surgeon who can perform surgery independe ...Show more

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Sociologist Alvin Toffler may have travelled through time and witness the future when he said, "Technology makes more technology possible". He is right, as after thirty-seven years of rapid technological advancement here were are facing a what he called "abrupt collision with the future" …
Author : maddisonwyman
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