The advances in robotic technology have totally revolutionized the way in which we live our daily lives. Just as robotics have given us many of the conveniences of the 21st century world, they might also be the key for advancing the safety and quality of surgical procedures. Many surgeons around the world are just beginning to seriously use robotics in their practice.
The recent news of the world's first robotic eye operation in Great Britain marks a milestone for 21st century healthcare. The patient, Father William Beaver of the St. Mary Church in Oxford, told reporters that he felt his vision returning to him ever since he had the procedure.
It was recommended that Father Beaver consider surgery for his eyes when doctors saw a membrane on the surface of one of his retina. This membrane, which was only 100th of a millimeter thick, was distorting the priest's vision by contorting his retina.
Before the surgery, Father Beaver told reporters that his normal vision was like the kind of warped vision people experience at a carnival's hall of mirrors. Now, however, he feels his vision is clearer than it has ever been before.
In order to remove this membrane, doctors had to be very careful not to damage the retina. For this kind of procedure, surgeons typically slow the patient's pulse and time surgical movements to in-between the patient's heartbeats. Of course, this procedure leaves great room for human error. That is why the medics assigned for this surgery opted to use new robotic technology to help remove the membrane with less risk of injury.
Medics involved in this surgery had both a joystick and a touchscreen that were used to control a robotic device. They still kept tabs on their progress by looking through the operating microscope. Whenever the medics made a significant move on the joystick, the robot moved a tiny bit closer to the eye. This gave them greater control over the surgical procedure.
This surgical operation took place at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital. The staff were all very excited to go down in the history books as the first hospital in the world to successfully use robotics in eye surgery.
One of the head surgeons on this team was Professor Robert MacLaren. Professor MacLaren is very hopeful that this procedure is only the beginning of a surgical revolution. As this century progresses, and robotics technology becomes more advanced, it is very likely that surgical procedures using robots will become the new normal.