GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Upstate doctors have been using robots in surgery for years, from hernia repairs to lung surgeries, but what will the future of robotic surgery look like?
As part of 7News’ Ask The Expert Series, in partnership with Bon Secours St. Francis Health, we spoke to a general surgeon about the future of robotic surgery, and how robots could shorten your post-surgery recovery time.
Bon Secours Surgeon Dr. Thomas Mann has performed more than 800 robotic surgeries in five years and said there is a common misconception about the technology.
“People are somewhat afraid when you speak of robotic surgery. They say ‘what is that?’ I think the main take-away is your surgeon is in complete control during the operation at all times,” Mann said.
During a robotic surgery the surgeon may be feet away from the patient, but is controlling a robot with multiple arms and a camera. The robot is able to fit through small incisions and is synced to the surgeon’s hand movements.
“The arms involved with the robot have articulating wrists which allow you to do fine detection, which you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. You literally can zoom into less than an inch,” said Mann.
Dr. Mann said the future is single port robotic surgery. Surgeons would only make one small incision for multiple instruments, rather than multiple incisions.
“Currently, I am performing a single site cholecystectomy, which is removing the gallbladder, through one single incision. I think what we’re going to see is a progression to other surgeries being performed with one incision,” said Mann.
As the technology improves that means lower pain, fewer opioid prescriptions, less time in the hospital and a faster recovery.
Right now, the Da Vinci surgical system Bon Secours uses, which is FDA approved, can be used for any kind of surgery except brain and bone surgeries.