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Acta Inform Med. 2010; 18(3): 124-130

Benefits and Restrictions of Robotics in General and Thoracic Surgery

Dimitris Zikos, Konstantinos Bardabouras, John Mantas.

In clinical surgical practice, robots are used in all almost specialties, including neurosurgery, cardiovascular surgery, orthopedics, general surgery, urology and the gynecology. Most robotic operations emanate from cardiovascular and urological surgery, while there seems to be continuous improvement to the robot techniques in other areas as well. This review paper discusses the applications of robotic systems in general and thoracic surgeries. The benefits and restrictions related to the use of robots in comparison with the traditional approaches are also discussed. Special reference is made regarding the operation length and hospitalization time using the robot technique in comparison with the traditional methods. Cholecystectomies, treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease and esophageal achalasia, bariatric surgeries, colon operations and thymectomies are only some of the general and thoracic surgical procedures that can be performed with the support of robot technologies. According to the review the effectiveness of robotics in the above procedures has been proved in many clinical trials describing successful outcomes. The currently available systems are mainly based in visual three-dimensional feedback. The restrictions of the robotic surgeries are based to the fact that surgeons, usually use their hands during the operations. The lack of haptic sense is considered to be the one of the most important disadvantages of modern systems. All conclusions concerning surgical robotics should always take into account that it is a relatively recent technology which has not been utilised adequately which has not yet become a common part of the everyday surgical practice.

Key words: robotic surgeries, telesurgery, general surgery, thoracic surgery, robots

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