Surgical Robotics: A New Standard in Minimally Invasive Surgery

The advancements made in medical technology over the last few decades is incredibly impressive. One improvement in surgical expertise is robotics. Now, it’s important to understand that the “robot” is not assuming surgical duties all on its own. There’s still a skilled surgeon behind this technique.

One such surgeon is Dr. Steven Groene of Riverside Healthcare. Here, he shares more information about what robot-assisted surgery

Steven Groene, MD

entails—as well as key benefits it generates.

What Does Robotic-Assisted Surgery Involve?

Dr. Groene describes robotic surgery as the “great integrator” between minimally invasive and open surgery. “For the last 30 to 40 years, we’ve also had more minimally invasive procedures, which has generally been laparoscopic surgery where we use little incisions with instruments. I think the robot really integrates those two and makes two become one. The instruments we use allow me to have 360 degrees of dexterity as if my hands were in there.”

Surgical robotics not only benefits the patient, in terms of faster healing and lower risk of infection, but it also provides a more ergonomically-favorable environment for surgeons. Dr. Groene notes that when performing a traditional laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon’s elbows and shoulders often suffer from the position in which they need to be.

“There are a lot of surgeons I know of who have gotten out of the profession because of that, it just hurts. With robotics, we sit at a console and it’s just so much nicer and more comfortable.”

Common Conditions Fit For Robotic-Assisted Surgery

A number of conditions are perfect for robot-assisted surgery, such as gallbladder, hernia, colon, and prostate procedures. However, there are certain situations where robotics isn’t the best fit. For example, if a person has had a lot of surgeries previously, there could be a lot of scar tissue that would require a larger incision. Another issue could be existing comorbidities such as heart disease.

“When we do any kind of minimally invasive surgery, robotic, laparoscopic, we have to blow up the belly with carbon dioxide so we can visualize things. The issue with that is it adds some pressure. Sometimes, it can cause the amount of blood flowing back to the heart to decrease a little bit,” explains Dr. Groene. “Now, for most healthy people, they have no problem. You don’t even realize it. For people who have severe cardiac history, severe heart disease, heart failure, that small amount of difference in blood flow back to the heart can be devastating.”

Looking Toward the Future of Surgical Robotics

Minimally invasive surgery is still a surgery, and it does come with possible complications. However, it also offers a number of benefits—reduced pain, faster recovery, and lessened risk of wound infection. As technology continues to advance, there may be even more advantages of robotic-assisted surgical procedures.

“The thing I’m most excited about are the endless possibilities,” shares Dr. Groene. “When I started doing robotic surgery more consistently about seven years ago, probably half the people who came in were a little bit hesitant about me doing robotic surgery. I think now it’s just become a standard. It’s making me a better surgeon and making your surgery safer and better.”

Find more information about robotic surgery at Riverside here.