The advantages of the technology revolution can be seen and felt in
virtually every arena of modern life. Computer microchips now organize the
vital events occurring within the basic mechanisms of automobiles, children
match their fingers’ reflexes, dance steps, and wits against virtual
entities on video screens, and interactions with business colleagues, friends,
and family occur electronically at any distance almost instantly. Until recently,
the surgical teams in most operating rooms were using tools and techniques
little different from those used decades ago. However, that is changing rapidly,
and innovation is now invading the operating suite.1
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A, Layout of the major components of a robotic surgery system. The surgical
manipulator (inset) has 3 or 4 arms, 2 or 3 that move surgical instruments
and an additional arm with a stereotelescope that transmits 2 independent
images of the operative site. At the console (inset), the surgeon looks through
a binocular eyepiece to view a magnified, high-resolution, 3-dimensional image
of the operative site transmitted via the stereotelescope. The surgeon controls
the surgical instruments with the surgical masters (inset). B, Robotic instruments
have 6 degrees of freedom of movement, similar to that of the human wrist
and arm. In comparison, laparoscopic instruments have only 4 degrees of freedom
of movement (based on an original concept by Cory Sandone).
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