Interventional Robotics in Telemedicine
Telesurgery has had considerable media coverage in the last few years. Systems range from simple Telemonitoring, in which the expert has a display of the endoscopic view and tells the surgeon at the operating table where to cut, through to full Telerobotic master/slave surgery systems, in which the master can be thousands of kilometres from the slave which is located in the operating room. The presentation will discuss the many Telesurgery options which can be used to assist the surgeon. Detailed aspects of the da Vinci master/slave surgery system will be given. This was originally designed for use in cardiac surgery but more recently has found a niche activity for prostate cancer, in conducting radical prostatectomy. A new type of Teleoperator system, called a hands-on robot, will also be described for use in knee replacement surgery. Clinical trials will be described in which detailed accuracy studies showed the benefits of the robotic procedures compared to the use of conventional jigs and fixtures. The benefits of Telerobotic systems for surgical training will also be discussed, with an example of a Teleoperator system for training surgeons to undertake a process of knee inspection and surgery, called laparoscopic knee arthroscopy. The talk will conclude with discussions of the implications for the future of Telesurgery.