Performing a surgery is no simple task. The process requires extreme caution and a lot of patience. Doctors spend years and years training for the procedures and even they get things wrong sometimes. To eliminate that human error, machines are being built that can carry out the process flawlessly without any mistakes.
Some machines do exist that can perform surgeries. But, the technology has not yet progressed so much that the doctors start leaving the complete procedure in their hands. However, the robots can assist the doctors in doing their jobs. Recent reports suggest that the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania performed the world’s first robot-assisted spinal surgery using Da Vinci’s robotic arms.
Noah Pernikoff, a 27-year old patient had a rare tumour in his neck where the spine meets the skull. The two concerns in the world’s first robot-assisted spinal surgery were that the spine does not get damaged so that it may cause permanent paralysis. Secondly, the complete tumor needs to be removed so that it has no chances of growing back.
The surgery took three phases and two days to complete. The first phase involved the neurosurgeon entering the patient’s neck and cutting the spine around the tumor. The second step involved three head and neck surgeons using the surgical robot to extract the tumor. Finally, Noah’s own bone was used to reconstruct the part of the spinal cord that was removed.
The report only recently came to light but the surgery took place back in August 2017. The patient has now recovered completely and is back to work. This is a glimpse of what the future could look like and how the chances of success will be increased by new technology.