Montana residents who may be getting surgery soon might be interested in knowing about an exciting new frontier in medicine: the burgeoning field of robotic surgery. The days of a surgeon standing over a patient for hours, while performing intricate and complex surgical maneuvers with their hands, may soon be over. Robotic surgery can be described as a method of performing surgery that has the surgeon employing very tiny tools that are typically attached to robotic arms. The robotic arms are not manipulated directly by the surgeon. As with any type of surgery, though, there is still the possibility of a surgical error.

With the advent of robotic surgery, a surgeon sits down at the computer terminal that controls the robotic arms to perform the surgery. The surgeon then proceeds to perform the surgery by manipulating the tools and controlling the robotic arms via the computer. Initially the surgeon makes small incisions on the patient. The incisions are needed because that is where the instruments that are attached to the robotic arms will be inserted into the patient’s body. Before any surgical maneuvers are performed, the surgeon first inserts an endoscopic camera, which looks like a thin drinking straw with a camera attached at the end of it.

The camera then displays an enlarged 3D image of the site where the surgery is going to be performed in front of the surgeon sitting at the terminal. The computer then matches the movements that the surgeon performs at the computer terminal with his hands.

The main advantage of employing robotic surgery over standard laparoscopic surgery is that the incisions that are needed to insert the camera and the robotic tools are much smaller, and it also allows for performing intricate precise surgical procedures. One of the disadvantages, however, is that robotic surgery takes longer to perform due to increased setup times that are needed to prep the robot prior to the surgery.

Furthermore, as with any other types of surgery this type of surgery comes with risks. At any point, if a surgeon is not adequately training surgical mistakes and errors can result. Doctor negligence or careless medical care may result in significant damages, but victims may be entitled to compensation.

Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Robotic surgery,” MedlinePlus, accessed May 11, 2015