The internet hummed last week with reports that "Humans Still Make Better Surgeons Than Robots." Stanford University Medical Center set off the tweetstorm with its seemingly scathing report on robotic surgery. When reading the research of 24,000 patients with kidney cancer, I concluded that the problem lied with the humans overcharging patients versus any technology flaw. In fact, the study praised robotic surgery for complicated procedures and suggested the fault lied with hospitals unnecessarily pushing robotic surgery for simple operations over conventional methods, which led to "increases in operating times and cost." Dr. Benjamin Chung, the author of the report, stated that the expenses were due to either "the time needed for robotic operating room setup" or the surgeon's "learning curve" with the new technology.
A form of robotic-guided spine surgery results in a five-fold reduction in surgical complications and a seven-fold reduction in revision surgeries compared to freehand methods. That's according to investigators presenting interim results of a multi-center prospective study that includes 379 spine surgery patients. Prospective studies track cohorts over time. The results are welcome news for medical device companies specializing in robotics. A 2015 study tracking injuries and deaths related to robotic surgeries suggested that such instances were being underreported, despite widespread assumptions that robotic-guided surgeries mitigated many of the risks associated with freehand surgeries.
Artificial intelligence represents a new way of interfacing with data. With the cost of sensors, data storage, and analytics plunging, nearly every industry can now produce exabytes of data concerning its daily operations, from the temperature of a computer processor to the vibration in a bearing. AI can work with human data too. Our social media footprints, buying habits, entertainment preferences, and our daily routines offer a wealth of psychological data. AI technology is already being employed to investigate how we think and act, and the media you're consuming right now may be a product of those algorithms.
Highly-trained surgeons armed with a scalpel perform procedures faster than machines, at a lower cost - and do not make more mistakes. Two studies - one by Leeds University and the other by Stanford University in the US - last night independently found robots did not reduce side effects or improve the patient's health when compared to manual operations. But they both found that robotic surgery took longer and was more expensive. For the last 15 years robots have been increasingly used in the NHS, replacing the surgeon's hand with the arm of a machine. The NHS has about 60 surgical robots, often bought for about £1.5million each by hospitals' charitable trusts after local fundraising campaigns.
The treatment plan that helped Krista Jones beat a rare form of cancer was developed using machine learning algorithms and big data. Today's most commonly-used surgical robot, the da Vinci system, is operated by a human surgeon through a console. By eliminating the risk of human error, Kim argues that autonomous surgical robots could dramatically decrease the risk of medical complications. But not everyone is convinced that existing surgical robots, including the popular da Vinci system, have proven their worth -- including Marty Makary, a surgical oncologist at Johns Hopkins.
From a converted pig shed in the Cambridgeshire countryside, a team of 100 scientists and engineers have used low-cost technology originally developed for mobile phones and space industries to create the first robotic arm specifically designed to carry out keyhole surgery. "Our robot does all of this and is the first robotic arm to be designed specifically for laparoscopic surgery," Frost said. "Whereas traditional industrial robotic arms are large and the wrists have three joints, our robot is the same size as a human arm and has four wrist joints, giving the surgeon an unprecedented level of freedom to operate on the patient from whatever angle they want, versatility and reach," Hares said. To create this sophisticated and state-of-the-art device Versius's creators used electronics from mobile phones to help the robot "think" and process information, and gear box technology originally designed for the space industry to help it move.
Using typically available data from operating rooms, Sentient partnered with MIT to predict the onset of sepsis–the leading killer in the ICU–with a success rate above 90%, giving ICU doctors and nurses the ability to act quickly to prevent this killer. Finance has used AI algorithms for a long time to compute credit scores and identify fraud, and now we are again seeing chatbot-esque approaches, this time to help banks answer customer questions more quickly. Everything from AI acting as your personal stockbroker to artificial intelligence finding stock predictors to AI running entire hedge funds: it's all here, right now. But within that data, there is space for real decision-making that can improve processes, make for happier customers, and positively affect the bottom line for companies smart enough to jump on sooner rather than later.
They designed a tiny robotic arm that lays flat while the endoscope is moving through narrow passages and pops up to reveal tools surgeons can use for the procedure. Unlike the typical surgical tools doctors use today, which are completely rigid, the team's creation has a hybrid design featuring a rigid skeleton surrounded by soft materials. By using a combination of the soft and rigid components -- connected to each other by chemical bond instead of adhesive -- the device is more flexible than completely rigid tools. The team already performed an ex-vivo (outside the body) test on a pig's stomach, but that's just the beginning.
The man who is snapping on the surgical gloves while beaming live operations across the globe, in crystal clear 40K VR, is Professor Shafi Ahmed, surgeon, cancer specialist and co-founder of virtual and augmented reality firm Medical Realities When saving lives is second nature, it must feel good to diversify a little, so Professor Ahmed's Wikipedia page also lists him as a'teacher, futurist, innovator, entrepreneur and evangelist' in immersive tech. Working closely with clinicians and experts in film production, animation, CGI, coding and graphics, Medical Realities experiments with virtual reality and wearable tech to stream operations live. Through the company's broadcasts, Medical Realities also aims to make healthcare and surgical access more equitable by training people in parts of the world where they don't have the resources for conventional training. Through the pioneering work of Professor Shafi Ahmed and Medical Realities, this cutting-edge technology looks set to play a much greater role in medical training, treatment and saving lives on the operating tables of the future and Professor Ahmed's relatively simple VR broadcasts could be the start of something truly miraculous.
For this research, MGH surgeons identified seven distinct stages in a procedure for removing part of the stomach, and the researchers tagged the beginnings of each stage in eight laparoscopic videos. "We wanted to see how this system works for relatively small training sets," Rosman explains. "If you're in a specific hospital, and you're interested in a specific surgery type, or even more important, a specific variant of a surgery -- all the surgeries where this or that happened -- you may not have a lot of examples." In this case, the system had to learn to identify similarities between frames of video in separate laparoscopic feeds that denoted the same phases of a surgical procedure.