When Are Non-Robotic Surgeries Performed?


Quick Answer

Robotic surgery is not suitable for some complex surgical procedures, as reported by the National Institutes of Health, and not all hospitals have the equipment to perform robotic surgery techniques, so it is not an option in some locations. Most robotic surgery procedures use similar incisions to procedures performed with laparoscopic techniques, according to the University of California Davis, so surgical procedures that cannot be performed via standard laparoscopic techniques are likely to be unsuitable for robotic surgery.

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Robotic or robot-assisted surgery consists of using robotic arms and surgical tools that mimic the movements of a surgeon's arms and hands, writes the NIH. These arms are inserted through small incisions in the body and can allow surgeons to perform more precise movements than standard operating techniques. This can make robotic surgery suitable for very delicate tasks, including careful removal of cancerous tissue and manipulation of fragile reproductive structures during tubal ligation. However, complex procedures that cannot be performed laparoscopically are often unsuitable for robotic surgery as well.

Specific patients may not be candidates for minimally invasive surgical techniques such as robotic surgery even if the procedure can normally be performed in that fashion, according to the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. Health problems such as obesity or severe heart and lung disease can eliminate robotic surgery as an option for patients suffering from those conditions. A history of prior surgery in the area of the operation may also make robotic surgery unsuitable for a particular patient.

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