With tiny incisions and often fewer complications, robotic surgery becomes a popular option,,
TUESDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- People facing surgery often imagine themselves under the care of a trained surgeon wielding a scalpel with a steady hand and a cool disposition.
But that picture is changing.
The surgeon will still be there, but the steady hand might very well not be human.
Robotic surgery is becoming a popular alternative to traditional surgical practices. For example, the number of prostate surgeries performed using robotic instruments increased from 9 percent in 2003 to 43 percent by 2007, according to a study published in late 2009 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
For the surgery, thin tubes containing cameras and robot-controlled surgical instruments are inserted into the body through tiny incisions, and the procedure is performed internally. Proponents of the method say the technology allows for less-invasive surgery, which leads to a faster recovery.
"You used to have to make a pretty big incision in the pelvis to do prostate surgery," said Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr., director of the East Carolina Heart Institute and chairman of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at East Carolina University, who is also a pioneer in the use of robotic surgery. "With this technology, we can now access the internal organs through tiny incisions."
The technology is not flawless. The Journal of the American Medical Association study found that people who underwent minimally invasive robotic prostate surgery had an increased risk of incontinence, erectile dysfunction and other genitourinary complications.
Surgeons had hoped that the use of robotic instruments would protect the nerves surrounding the prostate by removing some of the shakiness that exists in even the best-trained hands, said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the Ameri
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