Surgical robots have been around for about 20 years. When they first debuted in 2,000, injuries caused by defective equipment were common. These days, robotic surgery systems are safer than ever. But what exactly are robotic surgeries, what are they used for, and just how safe are they? Let’s find out by going over everything you need to know about surgical robots.
What Are Surgical Robots Used For?
Surgical robots are used for operations that require a higher degree of precision than human hands are capable of. Doctors claim the benefits of robotic surgery are fewer scars, minimized bleeding, reduced risk of infection, faster recovery times, and less pain.
In practice, surgical robots are used for a variety of surgical procedures, including prostate surgery, lung resections, thyroid surgeries, hip replacements, and others. That said, the vast majority of robotic surgeries are for gynecological procedures. These might include hysterectomies, ovarian cyst removal, as well as ovarian, uterine, and cervical cancer surgeries.
This means surgical robot-related injuries tend to have a disproportionate impact on female patients, not because their surgeries are necessarily more complex or have greater risks, but because female patients make use of these devices more often. Overall, surgical robots are safe in the hands of the right surgeon.
Are Surgical Robots Autonomous?
When you imagine surgical robots, you might envision someone pressing a button while the robot does all the work. But Surgical robots are not autonomous (meaning the robot moves on its own). Rather, each surgical robot is remote-controlled by a surgeon.
With the DaVinci surgical system, surgeons sit at a console and insert their fingers into small rings. The machine translates their hand and wrist movements into precise, robotic movements that allow for surgeries with a much finer degree of precision. However, the success of the surgery greatly depends on the skill of the surgeon.
Are Surgical Robots Safe?
While surgical robots from the early 2000s were plagued by technical issues and robotic defects, modern systems are very safe. In the past few years, almost all injuries arising from robotic surgeries have been because of a surgeon’s error, not because of the machine itself.
Despite the recent track record of robots in surgery, a small percentage of injuries still result from broken components falling inside the patient. If a surgeon fails to notice a break, that piece could become a foreign object left inside the patient, requiring a second surgery to remove.
Injuries From Robot-Assisted Surgeries
Injuries from robotic surgeries are generally rare but serious. The most common injuries are damage to the ureter (the duct connecting the bladder to the kidneys) and perforation of the intestines, both of which occur most often during gynecological surgeries.
Both of these injuries are extremely serious and may require corrective stents or corrective surgery. Left untreated, an intestinal perforation could lead to sepsis or death. If patients ever see blood in their urine or stool after robotic surgery, they should go to their doctor immediately and then contact a medical malpractice attorney.
Some rarer injuries that might arise from the negligent use of surgical robots include damage to the arteries. These injuries can lead to blood loss, internal bleeding, brain damage, or even death. For these reasons, medical staff must keep close watch of your condition throughout the post-operative stage.
How a Miami Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help
When you’re seriously injured because of a surgeon’s negligence, you have a right to pursue compensation for your damages, including hospital bills, additional surgeries, lost wages, pain and suffering, and anything else you need to move forward. When you hire a medical malpractice attorney to represent you, you can focus on your recovery while they handle the rest.
If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries due to robotic surgery, we are here for you. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Miami medical malpractice attorney from Rossman, Baumberger, Reboso & Spier, P.A., don’t hesitate to give us a call at (305) 900-5493 or send us an email.