DiscoverScience For CareSurgical robots: when science fiction becomes reality
Surgical robots: when science fiction becomes reality

Surgical robots: when science fiction becomes reality

Update: 2022-10-06


What was once science fiction is now a reality. This pretty much sums up the history of surgical robotics. Now, before you panic, let me define what they are. Surgical robots are not living and breathing machines capable of taking medical decisions alone. That is still science fiction. The reality is that surgical robots are mechanical arms with surgical instruments attached to them that are guided by surgeons. I know, this description takes away from the fantasy. But wait until you hear about the incredible things they can do! 

In today’s episode, we will explore how scientists and engineers put their imagination to work and created highly sophisticated robots capable of assisting surgeons in the OR. I will give you a couple of mind-blowing examples and you will even get to hear from a specialist in this field: Jeffery Alvarez, Chief Strategy Officer at Moon Surgical.

Key concepts

Robotic surgery, also called robot-assisted surgery, allows doctors to perform many types of complex procedures with more precision, flexibility and control than is possible with conventional techniques. According to UCLA Health, this type of surgery includes very small incisions and better magnification, resulting in faster recovery times and fewer risks.

What are the benefits of minimally invasive surgery? 

  • less pain and blood loss ;

  • fewer complications, such as surgical site infection ;

  • smaller, less noticeable scars ;

  • shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery.

What you will learn in this episode

  • Although the word “robot” only appeared in the 20th century, the idea of robots dates all the way back to antiquity. 

  • The Maestro is a two-armed robotic surgical assistant that can hold and manipulate standard laparoscopic instruments developed by an innovative company called Moon Surgical.

  • Laparoscopy allows the observation of the various digestive, genital, or urinary organs. Various pathologies can be diagnosed and even treated without having to open the abdomen.

Key dates 

  • 1921 - The term “robot” is used in a play published by Karel Čapek. It is derived from the Czech word, robota, which means labourer. 

  • 1985 - creation of the first surgical robot called PUMA.

  • In the 80s: NASA engineers and Stanford surgeons came up with the idea of telepresence for surgeons. 

  • 1995 - The company Intuitive Surgical was formed. It developed the world-famous daVinci robotic surgical system. The daVinci is equipped with several arms that can replicate a surgeon’s movements with extreme precision. 

Science for Care is a podcast by HealthTech for Care">HealthTech for Care, a non profit organization designed to support and promote access to care for all. If you enjoy our show, please mention it to your friends, family and co-workers, and leave ratings and reviews on your favorite listening platform.

Production: MedShake Studio">MedShake Studio 









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Surgical robots: when science fiction becomes reality

Surgical robots: when science fiction becomes reality

Healthtech For Care