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Robotic docs can boost surgery time and cost

For kidney patients, surgical outcomes were similar whether a human or a machine wielded the scalpel

11:01am, October 24, 2017
robot surgery

HELPING HANDS  Use of surgical robots for laparoscopic kidney removal has been ramping up, but adding a robot to the mix doesn’t necessarily make surgery more efficient. 

When it comes to some operations, surgical robots may not be worth the extra time or money.

Researchers compared patients who underwent traditional laparoscopy to have a kidney removed — surgery involving several small incisions rather than one large cut — with patients who received robot-assisted laparoscopies. Although the two groups had similar complication rates and hospital stay lengths, robotic procedures took longer and cost more per patient, researchers report in the Oct. 24 JAMA.

In a robot-assisted operation, the surgeon uses a console to control robotic arms wielding surgical tools (SN: 11/12/16 p. 18). Surgical robots are increasingly being used for procedures such as tumor removal and organ transplants because the machines help doctors maneuver more

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