'Robosurgery' - The Future?

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'Robosurgery' - The Future?

23rd October 2008

A hospital in Berkshire has been developing 'robosurgeons' - in a move that could change the future of surgery.

Surgeons have been practising with a £1.2m machine made by da Vinci Surgery Systems, in preparation for its first official operation next month.

The device is currently being leased, with the fee being raised by donations. The hospital are now attempting to raise further funds to secure the machine permanently.

The device works with a surgeon controlling the robot from a computer screen. The machine interprets the surgeon's controls to carry out the operation of the patient.

There are a variety of benefits to using a 'robo doctor', including the counteraction of the trembling in a surgeon's hands. Peter Malone, consultant urologist at the Royal Berkshire hospital, said: "What the robot allows us to do is the same manipulation we would do with open surgery but translates that into action at the tip of the needles so we can do the same operation through smaller incisions."

Mark West, from da Vinci Surgery Systems, said: "We think this is the future. Robotic surgery is relatively new in the UK but certainly has the opportunity to become a familiar experience for patients, surgeons and hospitals alike."

The machine will primarily be used for gynaecology, urology and ear, nose and throat surgery, however if successful, may be rolled out to other procedures.