Robots with artificial intelligence capabilities are becoming increasingly more useful in surgeries. They help reduce surgeon variations that could cause a longer patient recovery. While still relatively new to the healthcare field, these robots equipped with AI already help to both assist in surgeries and provide valuable data for surgeons.

AI-Assisted Surgery

According to Tamás Haidegger, a technical lead for medical robotics research, we are living in the age of robot-assisted surgery. Robots are often either passively or actively helping the human surgeon during a surgery for optimal outcome. For example, Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands used a robot to assist during a surgery to suture small blood vessels. The robotic system was controlled by a surgeon. His hand movements were converted into smaller movements that were then performed by robotic hands. The machines also used AI to ensure that the robotic hands were able to operate without any tremors accidentally dictated by the surgeon’s movements.

There are many other examples of robotic surgery. One is image-guided surgery, which is most commonly used in orthopedics or in neurosurgery. In these surgeries, a robot uses a predetermined plan to perform delicate, precise movements. In a hip replacement surgery, robots can complete specific bone-drilling movements based on a pre-decided CT plan. The robot translates the movements necessary from a mesh form to a real human body.

A surgeon’s skill varies widely, and depends on a variety of factors including their experience, and whether or not they’re familiar with new and difficult procedures. Their skill plays a direct role in patient outcome, recovery, and costs.

Artificial intelligence has the ability to reduce this variation in skill. Leveraging the feedback from AI will make a crucial difference in the progression of surgery in the near future.

Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence doesn’t just actively assist during surgeries, but it also provides valuable insight into the best methods. Currently some machines are equipped with the ability to watch surgeons during surgeries and gather and analyze data step-by-step and in real-time. These robots are able to process the billions of data elements that accompany surgery. After analyzing the data, they can determine critical information and best practices. This information will be used to improve surgery techniques in the future.

Because of AI’s ability to learn, these robotic systems will continue to progress even faster as they gather and implement even more data.

Artificial intelligence plays an important role in assisting surgeons during procedures. The system also helps provide valuable information and feedback about techniques. This technology will continue to become even more advanced and popular in the future.