0
We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
JAMA Patient Page |

Robotic Surgery FREE

Deborah Tolmach Sugerman, MSW
JAMA. 2013;310(10):1086. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.75621.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Robotic surgery may sound a little too high-tech for comfort, but rest assured, the accurate term is robotic-assisted surgery.

A surgeon performs your procedure using very high-tech equipment. Originally designed for use on battlefields, today the “robot” has become the latest technology at hospitals worldwide.

SURGERY ALTERNATIVES

There are 2 basic ways to do surgery. In open surgery, the surgeon makes a large incision to look and work directly inside the body. In laparoscopy (minimally invasive surgery), the surgeon makes 1 or more small incisions and inserts a light and a camera into the openings.

Many types of open surgical procedures can now be done laparoscopically. Advantages include smaller incisions, less blood loss (and less need for transfusions), less pain while recovering, and shorter hospital stays. Disadvantages include rigid tools, a need for the surgeon to operate tools in a tight space, and the surgeon’s view is on a video screen, which can be confusing.

WHAT IS ROBOTIC SURGERY?

Robotic surgery is a newer kind of laparoscopic surgery. The surgeon makes small incisions, but the instruments work through a robotic device. The surgeon sits at a console and operates the robot’s arms, which in turn move tiny tools inside the patient’s body.

There are many advantages to robotic surgery. The surgeon can view a high-quality, 3-D image and can move his or her hands and wrists more naturally. The robot can reduce tremors in the surgeon’s movements and is helpful for surgery in tight spaces in the body. Robotic surgery is particularly helpful for certain types of procedures in which access is difficult.

Disadvantages include a significant learning curve for surgeons to become fully expert. Some surgeons miss the “feel” of direct contact with the patient’s organs. And robotic surgery takes longer, regardless of the surgeon’s expertise.

WHAT DO THE STUDIES SAY?

There are few well-designed studies of robotic surgery compared with traditional laparoscopic surgery. A recent study found that there was no advantage to patients for robotic surgery, and it costs a great deal more than traditional laparoscopic surgery.

COST

Robots can cost $1.5 million to $1.75 million each plus the expense of annual maintenance and the necessary disposable instruments. There is no manufacturing competition to lower costs; in the United States, only 1 system has FDA approval.

Without much better outcomes, it is difficult for hospitals to justify the purchase price. In the end, patients will pay for the overall increased costs in the form of higher insurance premiums.

Box Section Ref ID

For More Information

To find this and previous JAMA Patient Pages, go to the Patient Page link on JAMA’s website at jama.com. Many are published in English and Spanish.

ARTICLE INFORMATION

The JAMA Patient Page is a public service of JAMA. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your personal medical condition, JAMA suggests that you consult your physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with patients. To purchase bulk reprints, call 312/464-0776.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: The author has completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none were reported.

Sources: National Library of Medicine. Wright J, et al. JAMA. 2013;309(7):689-698.

Tables

References

Letters

CME
Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.

Multimedia

Spanish Patient Page: Cirugía robótica

Supplemental Content

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Related Collections