How doctors are leveraging surgical robots

General surgery in robotics is taking off, and its advantages are helping doctors perform more procedures and reduce risks, according to a profile in The New Yorker.

Pier Giulianotti, MD, chief of general, minimally invasive and robotic surgery at University of Illinois Health, is known as a leader in the surgical robotics movement, leveraging robotic arms for use in surgery soon after seeing a demonstration of the technology in 1999.

Using joysticks and foot pedals to control the technology, Giulianotti and his team can perform a number of surgeries that are less risky. For example, removing a tumor close to a pancreas is more difficult in conventional surgery without injuring the pancreas.

Still, the use of robotics in surgery is somewhat controversial in the medical community. And the robots can be extremely costly. At the same time, the robotic approach cannot be done without doctors. As the technology continues to evolve, Giulianotti is also evolving the techniques to meet patient needs.

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