The use of robots in the operating theater isn’t new. We have heard of doctors using certain robotics to help with their operations, but what if one day robot surgeons could operate on people without needing the help or assistance from doctors? That’s something that researchers at John Hopkins University are looking into.
The researchers have developed a system called STAR, or Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot. In one of their tests, the robot was able to pull off a complicated and delicate surgical procedure on a pig without needing the help of humans to guide it, and it seems that it did an even better job than humans would.
The operation in question was a small intestine anastomosis where the ends of an intestine are reconnected if they were removed to treat a tumor, for example. The tricky bit of this surgery is that tiny mistakes could cause leaks, and as it is a soft tissue, it can move around quite a bit.
Using the STAR system on four pig subjects, it appears that the robot’s suturing and stitches were more accurate and consistent and there were no leaks detected. It might be a while before we actually see the STAR system used on humans, but it sounds promising and it could be a future we might be able to look forward to one day.