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 19 January 2018

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News

Can robots replace surgeons?

Basic laparoscopic task performance is as fast and as precise using standard instruments as it is using robotic systems, find researchers from New York, USA.

News image

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In this study, researchers aimed to compare the performance of laparoscopic tasks by surgeons using standard laparoscopic instruments with 2 surgical robotic systems.

The team's results are published in the April issue of Surgical Endoscopy.

Overall, 18 surgeons performed tasks in a training box using 3 different instrument systems. These systems were standard laparoscopic instruments, the Zeus Robotic Surgical System, and the da Vinci Surgical System.

They performed basic tasks included running a 100-cm rope, placing beads onto pins, and dropping cotton peanuts into cylinders. In addition, fine tasks were performed including intracorporeal knot tying and running stitches with 4–0, 6–0, and 7–0 sutures.

The researchers recorded the time taken to complete each task in seconds, and measured precision by recording the number of errors.

The robotic systems were similar in precision for fine suturing tasks.
Surgical Endoscopy

They used analysis of variance with pair-wise comparisons using the Bonferroni method and Friedman's nonparametric test for statistical analysis.

The team found that standard instruments performed significantly faster than either robotic system on the rope and bead tasks. However, da Vinci performed significantly faster than Zeus in all 3 basic tasks.

They identified no significant difference in precision between standard instruments and the robotic systems on any of the basic tasks.

Knot-tying and running-suture time were similar between standard instruments and the da Vinci system. These were significantly faster than Zeus for all suture sizes.

The robotic systems were similar in precision for fine suturing tasks.

The researchers determined that they were significantly more precise in knot tying (both) and running sutures (da Vinci) than standard instruments.

Drs Dakin and Gagner concluded, "Basic laparoscopic task performance is generally faster and as precise using standard instruments compared to either robotic system".

"In performing fine tasks, neither robotic system is faster than standard instruments, although they may offer some advantage in precision".

Surg Endosc 2003; 17(4): 574-9
24 April 2003

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