Health Care

Robotic Surgery: Then and Now

Medical specialists work with robotic surgery equipment.
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Innovation is key when it comes to surgical training. We never stop looking to the future to see what’s coming next, but sometimes it’s good to take a look into the past to see how far we’ve come. From traditional laparoscopic surgery to robotic surgery, physicians have had to adapt to the changing environment at a fast pace, with surgical training methods evolving in its path. Below are the key events that shaped modern robotic surgery and allow us to keep growing.

1978: The first surgical robot was developed and used. Scientists developed the Puma 560 robot to perform more accurate neurosurgical biopsies.

1980: First laparoscopic appendectomy. Although physicians had been using laparoscopy for gynecological operations, like a hysterectomy, German physician Kurt Semm performed the first appendectomy using this method, catching the attention of many surgeons.

1980s: PROBOT. Imperial College in London developed a system to assist with transurethral prostatectomies. Using a computer-generated model of the prostate, the robot would calculate the trajectories of incisions and perform the procedure.

1992: ROBODOC. Created by Integrated Surgical Systems, the system used CT imaging to drill accurate holes for hip arthroplasty.

1993: The first robot approved by FDA. The AESOP® Endoscope Positioner was a voice-activated camera positioning robot used for endoscopic surgery.

1998: Zeus becomes commercially available. The system, developed by Computer Motion, consisted of one AESOP arm and two surgical arms and was used predominantly for cardiac surgery. The system was used to perform the first and only long-range telesurgery from New York to Strasburg, France.

2000: daVinci approved by FDA. When Intuitive Surgery, Inc. created the daVinci Surgical System®, the general laparoscopic surgery field would never be the same. Now, many hospitals use this system for complex surgeries, like prostatectomies.

We are excited about the future of robotic surgery and look forward to continuing to find innovative ways to prepare surgeons for what’s to come. To learn more about our telesurgery research, visit our lag time blog post.

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"History of Robotic Surgery." Biomed Brown University. N.p., n.d. Web.

"All About Robotic Surgery." Robotic Surgery-History. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2015.

Kalan, S., Chauhan, S., Coelho, R. F., Orvieto, M. A., Camacho, I. R., Palmer, K. J., and Patel, V. R. (2010). History of robotic surgery. Journal of Robotic Surgery, 4(3), 141-147.

Litynski, G. S. (1998). Kurt Semm and the Fight against Skepticism: Endoscopic Hemostasis, Laparoscopic Appendectomy, and Semm's Impact on the. JSLS, Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons, 2(3), 309-313.

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