Battlefield Breakthroughs
6:00 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Five Ways Robots Will Capture Planet Surgery

Scrub nurses straight out of The Jetsons, telecommuting surgeons and other medical advances driven by robotic technology -- here's what's on the horizon for robotic surgery.

  • Telesurgery -- Specialty surgeons could perform operations from their local hospital or their living rooms on patients who live anywhere. (This was the military's goal when research began on the first robotic surgery techniques.)
  • Training Simulators -- Doctors get hands-on training on robots now, but eventually, doctors anticipate simulators that will actually factor in patient-specific complications.
  • Microspheres -- This robotic technology is currently in the works at UT Southwestern and actually allows surgeons to see into tissue. That enables them to remove the precise malignant area and nothing more.
  • Nanotechnology --Could robots as small blood cells be implanted inside patients to disperse medicine? Surgeons think so.
  • Robotic Scrub Nurses -- Exactly what you think. Robo-nurses could transfer instruments and adjust equipment, even check on patients in recovery.

Robots Among Us: Robotic Surgery In North Texas By The Numbers

There are 150 da Vinci systems - the $2 million contraptions that are used to perform robotic surgery -- in Texas. A breakdown of those in North Texas hospitals:

  • Texas Health -- 12
  • Baylor Healthcare System -- 9
  • UT Southwestern -- 4
  • Methodist Dallas -- 3
  • Medical City -- 2
  • Children’s Medical Center -- 1