“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”, said the famous science-fiction writer and futurist Arthur C Clarke. Technology is all-pervasive and has been revolutionizing sectors from education to entertainment to healthcare. The most valuable advancements are considered to be in the field of healthcare because it has led to the saving of numerous lives and that too painlessly. Using technology in the intricate procedure of surgery elevates the level of precision and the efficiency of surgery which could have not been possible in the absence of technological advancements.
Technological advancements in the field of surgery
Surgeons bear huge responsibilities: they might cause irreparable damage or medical miracles with one incision on the patient’s body. Due to the rise of digital technologies, the operating rooms and surgeons are inundated with new devices to make the least cuts possible and make the process of surgery smooth-sailing. Nowadays, the presence of Artificial Intelligence (AI), surgical robots, minimally invasive surgery and even Virtual Reality is discernible. These are the developments of this era in the healthcare sector.
From preoperative planning to intraoperative guidance, AI is gradually changing the practice of surgery with advancements in imaging, navigation and robotic intervention. With the help of dedicated AI surgical systems, even the tiniest movements can be executed with 100 per cent accuracy. Another important development in healthcare is minimally invasive surgeries. Ever since the first Laparoscopic Appendicectomy was performed way back in 1983, minimally invasive surgeries have seen a significant technological improvement addressing the hitherto concerns – limited field of view, limited manoeuvrability of the equipment and inability to make the correct depth estimation. The latest high-resolution miniaturized cameras have made it possible for the surgeons to have a detailed view of the operating areas and perform the surgery with few but precise incisions, thus, enabling the patient to feel less pain and recover fast.
Then comes surgical robots in operation theatres as a limiting factor of minimally invasive surgeries. These robots are the prodigies of surgery. The most common surgical robot is the Da Vinci surgical system. Currently, in India, there are around 75 robotic installations, with more than 500 trained surgeons. With Da Vinci system in healthcare, surgeons can perform the surgery with few precise incisions, and the surgeon is in 100 per cent control over the robot at all times. Here, the core functions of a surgical robot are to assist the surgeon in activities like dissecting and retracting tissues.
The growing scope of the technology
The above-mentioned technologies are prevalent in the Indian surgical system. But, with the lapse of time, scientists and innovators are reaching new heights and making the almost impossible happen. Taking the example of surgical robots, there is a scope of autonomous surgical robots that will be a breakthrough in the Indian healthcare system. Not only this, surgeons have even started using Virtual Reality (VR) as well as Augmented Reality (AR) cameras. VR has the potential to elevate the teaching and learning experience to a whole new level. With the help of VR, surgeons can stream operations, allowing medical students to be in the OR virtually, using their VR goggles. Besides VR, a technique such as 3D printing that helps pre-plan the risky and complicated surgeries is the need of the hour and has great potential to capture a significant place in the healthcare industry.
There is a high scope for technological advancements in the field of surgery. With each passing year, scientists are coming with something new that is enabling surgeons to save the lives of people seamlessly. Furthermore, technological inventions and innovations don’t replace the surgeon but technology and surgeon together make the pious function of saving lives more easy and painless.