Is Robotic Surgery The 'Laser' Of The 21st Century?

Mon, 12/10/2012 - 10:00am
Skeptical Scalpel

An OR nurse with 40 years of experience told me that she thinks robotic surgery might go the way of the laser.
Like many good observations, it's simple and I wonder why I didn’t think of it myself. The fact that I didn’t think of it won’t stop me from running with it though.

Laparoscopic surgery was introduced in the United States in 1989. Before then, gynecologists had used laparoscopes to peek into the abdomen for diagnostic purposes and tie some tubes, but removal of organs had not been done much. General surgeons didn’t use laparoscopy at all.

Some intrepid surgeons in Europe started performing laparoscopic cholecystectomies and the technique rapidly spread to the US. The rest is history.

But there is a forgotten chapter of the story. In 1990, surgeons in the US were scrambling to take courses in laparoscopic cholecystectomy. It was hard to find a course that had openings. Many were sponsored by a company that made a YAG laser and the operation was originally called “laparoscopic laser cholecystectomy.”

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