Robotic surgeries have become quite common, especially in cancer related operations. Dr. Justin Harmon, Medical Director of the Robotic Surgery Program at St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne, says robotic operations, like all minimally invasive procedures, are easier on the patient. There is less trauma to the body and less scarring, because the incision is just about the width of a dime. Recovery time is faster too, so the patient is back to work and regular activities a lot sooner. Dr. Harmon says the procedures are also better for doctors. The robots offer tremendous magnification, which allows physicians to see the surgical site more clearly and have a better view of what's being done.
He's quick to point out that a robot is not doing the work on its own. A surgeon is controlling the instruments that direct the robot in every procedure. And since the physician is sitting just feet away, it's truly a face to face, hands on operation.
But, the robot allows for smaller incisions and for work in tighter spaces, because the robotic instruments are much smaller than a surgeon's hands.
He adds that robotics have come a long way since the surgeries began two decades ago. The equipment has improved tremendously and Dr. Harmon points out that St. Mary Medical Center is using the most advanced equipment. He says the hospital's program has been expanding to all surgical specialties with collaboration a hallmark of the department. He says if you're planning to have robotic surgery, ask your physician how much experience he/she has. The more operations you have done using the equipment, the better.