- By Dr. Adil Sadiq, Head & Senior Consultant – Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery, Sakra World Hospital Bengaluru
Robotic surgery is becoming increasingly popular, and the good news is, it’s not about replacing surgeons with machines. Instead, these robots assist surgeons by enhancing precision and enabling operations in tighter spaces. The use of smaller incisions reduces the chances of complications and accelerates the healing process.
Thanks to advancements in robotic technology, heart surgeons now endorse it for procedures like mitral valve repair and coronary artery bypass surgery. Almost anyone can qualify for robotic heart surgery, except for individuals who are extremely unwell or have undergone previous chest surgeries.
The Precision of Robotic Surgery
Robotic cardiac surgery is a type of heart surgery where small cuts are made in the chest. With tiny instruments and robot-controlled tools, surgeons perform the surgery with much smaller incisions than open-heart surgery. Sometimes called da Vinci surgery, named after the robot manufacturer, this approach allows surgeons to sit at a computer console, viewing a high-definition video of the patient’s body through a camera on an endoscope.
Unlike traditional surgery where the surgeon stands over the patient, in robotic surgery, the surgeon manipulates devices from the console, controlling surgical instruments at the end of robotic arms. The robot mimics the surgeon’s hand movements with remarkable precision, even compensating for any hand tremors using special software programming. This method offers a less invasive way to perform heart surgery.
Robotic heart surgery offers precise solutions for various cardiac conditions, including mitral and tricuspid valve repair/replacement, combined valve surgeries, atrial fibrillation ablation, atrial septal defect, patent foramen ovale repair, and cardiac tumor removal. This minimally invasive approach revolutionizes treatment across a spectrum of complex cardiac cases, demonstrating its versatility and transformative impact on cardiovascular care.
- Minimal Trauma: Robotic heart surgery accesses the heart through small chest incisions, contrasting with the larger incision required in traditional surgery, resulting in reduced trauma for patients and lowering the risk of complications.
- AI-driven precision: The incorporation of artificial intelligence into robotic systems elevates accuracy by analyzing live data, aiding surgeons in making well-informed decisions during intricate cardiac procedures.
- Faster Recovery: Smaller incisions lead to a typically faster recovery process, allowing patients to return to normal activities and work sooner, enhancing overall satisfaction.
- Reduced Blood Loss: The use of smaller incisions in robotic surgery often means less blood loss during the procedure, decreasing or eliminating the need for blood transfusions.
- Shorter Hospital Stays: Quicker overall recovery translates to shorter hospital stays, contributing to a more efficient and patient-friendly healthcare experience.
- Lower Pain Levels: The smaller incision is generally less painful for patients, as it avoids the need to split the breastbone, providing a more comfortable postoperative experience.
- Enhanced Visualization: Robotic-assisted surgery provides enhanced visualization for surgeons, resulting in more precise procedures and improved patient outcomes. Advanced 3D imaging in robotic-assisted surgeries offers a detailed and immersive view of the patient’s anatomy, facilitating the navigation of complex structures within the heart with greater ease.
- Improved Surgeon Performance: Surgeons benefit from a greater range of motion and enhanced dexterity during robotic-assisted procedures, further improving the overall surgical process.
- Remote Precision: Telepresence surgery, facilitated by robotic systems, enables skilled surgeons to perform remote operations. This capability proves especially advantageous in delivering specialized care to individuals in distant or underserved regions, effectively overcoming geographical barriers to healthcare access.
- International Cooperation in Robotic Surgery: Utilizing robotic systems, surgeons from different parts of the world can engage in real-time collaboration, nurturing a worldwide network of skills and enabling the exchange of knowledge to perpetually enhance robotic heart surgery.