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What is Collaborative Robotics and How Does It Change the OR?

Collaborative robotics is a feature in many operating rooms throughout the United States, and it’s becoming more widespread, with additional uses. But what does it mean? It makes many people wonder if the robot performs surgery. The answer is no: as with many robotic medical applications, the robot merely augments the surgeon’s or technician’s skill. How does that change the operating room?

Minimize Problems Related to Human Factors

Human beings aren’t perfect. Human error is a factor of everyday life, but even the tiniest error can be a major problem in the operating room. Collaborative robotics can help with that. The robot can replicate the surgeon’s hand movements at a miniature scale. Given the fact that millimeters matter in the OR, this can have major and very important implications.

For example, collaborative robots can help diminish the effects of hand tremors and avoid unintended or accidental movements. This allows the surgeon to make the best possible use of his or her surgical knowledge, skills, and abilities while minimizing the chance for human imperfections to cause a problem during the operation.

Improve Precision

Precision is important in many aspects of life, but it’s especially important in the operating room. With collaborative robotics, robots have started assisting surgeons, and this provides the surgeons with greater precision and a higher success rate with their operations. Again, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean the robot is performing the operation.

In one situation, a cobot (short for collaborative robot) is used to position a digital microscope, allowing neurosurgeons to get the best view of the surgery and increase their precision. Different surgical specialties might use collaborative robotics in different ways; this is an example focused on one particular specialty.

Less Invasive

Surgery can be very invasive. Robotic surgery is usually associated with minimally invasive surgery — procedures performed through tiny incisions. When surgery is minimally invasive, the patient typically has a reduced risk of infection, a shorter recovery time, and far less discomfort.

The differences between open surgery and minimally invasive surgery can be great. It’s not just patients who appreciate the differences; surgeons do, too. As one surgeon noted, the idea behind minimally invasive surgery is to make as few and as small incisions as possible to accomplish a surgical task…. People recover tremendously faster with better cosmetic appearances. Collaborative robotics is one of the factors that makes this type of surgery an option in a greater number of cases.

Do You Have Experience with Collaborative Robotics?

At 365 Healthcare Staffing Services, we specialize in the recruitment and placement of healthcare professionals in per diem, travel, and permanent assignments in healthcare facilities across the country. Collaborative robotics is coming to an OR near you—or it may already be there. Are you looking for your next assignment? Give us a call at 310.436.3650; we’ll be waiting to hear from you.