Getting a robot to perform surgery on you might sound like a good idea, especially when you have the kind of medical technology at your disposal, such as the one seen in the movie Prometheus. Well, that works only when everything in said robot works well, coupled with fantastic artificial intelligence to assess the medical situation and perform all of the right moves. Robotic arms lack the nerves that might happen to some surgeons, but there is a risk of it breaking down halfway.


Case in point, surgeons in Aalst, Belgium were obviously startled when part of the da Vinci surgery robot’s arm actually broke off while it remained within a patient who was undergoing prostate surgery, although this happened half a dozen years back. Intuitive Surgical, Inc., the one behind the da Vinci robot arm, has been slapped by a rash of lawsuits for some time now, and their position is further weakened after Columbia University researchers ran a recent study to discover that robotic surgery does not offer any real advantages over live surgeons, as long as the latter have received proper instruments and training.

There are several other alleged complications that arose from the da Vinci machines, where among them include punctures to the liver and spleen during heart surgery, rectal damage during prostate surgery, unintended burns from the device’s cauterizing tools and vaginal hernias following hysterectomies. The poor patient in the Belgian case had to endure an enlarged wound to retrieve the broken arm, since the fracture of the robotic arm was too large for it to be pulled back through the original keyhole incision. Ouch!

Filed in Medical >Robots. Read more about Surgery.

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