Technology is moving surgery into the realm of robotics and artificial intelligence. This has improved patient care by increasing the precision in the operating room. Technology can now impact all aspects of the surgical process from pre-operative planning to the surgery itself.
Surgery has come a long way since doctors operated without the benefit of assistance. The early computer-assisted devices were bulky and only minimally helpful. They were difficult to use, and doctors had to focus almost as much on the technology as they did on the patient, which can be detrimental when performing surgery after an accident.
The advent of arthroscopic and laparoscopic surgeries began to change everything. Companies developed more intricate technologies once physicians discovered that they could achieve the same surgical results without a large incision. Now, only the more complex surgeries require a large incision site.
Technology is already changing how patients are prepared for surgery. Pre-operative procedures were always manual processes where doctors studied the patient’s file and spoke with them about any risk factors. The greater use of technology and artificial intelligence is now better at finding risk factors and predicting possible complications with the surgery. This will make surgical procedures safer in the future.
Doctors can also now prepare for complex procedures ahead of time. 3D printing allows doctors to practice on life-scale models of organs like the heart. Doctors will even be able to learn surgical skills using 3D printed models. Bioprinting could even be helpful during the procedure itself.
The doctor’s role in many surgeries has also been changed. Now, surgeons are increasingly sitting at controls in the operation room. They are guiding complex surgical instruments that are doing the surgical work. Their surgical skill is still required, but now it takes on a different form. This reduces some chance of surgical error and variation in operating results. Robotic devices are changing the face of surgery, especially when treating serious injuries after a crash.
Surgical technology is also reducing invasive surgery and recovery times. Now, doctors are able to insert instruments and cameras without too much cutting. These are bendable and controllable devices that do much of the work inside the patient. The surgeon’s role becomes more focused on monitoring and studying results once he or she inserts the device.
One can expect that surgery will move even more in the direction of robots in the future. First, medical technology is proving to be an incredibly profitable venture for the companies that make these devices. For example, the company that invented and produces the da Vinci Surgical System has achieved a market capitalization of over $100 billion.
Second, doctors are always looking for ways to make surgery safer and more efficient. Surgical technology will continue to assist physicians and may eventually replace much of their function in the operating room. Doctors may end up more as overseers, making sure that the technology does its job the right way and that the patients respond.