The Future is Here

Robotics and its future in the field of Cardiac Surgery

The origins of Robotic Surgery can be traced back to when Laparoscopy procedures were operated on patients. With eyes on the screen relaying the patient’s surgical field, the surgeon operated with somewhat limited hand movement due to inaccurate visualisation. This limitation was eliminated by the development of surgical robots. Today, surgical robots cover a wide spectrum of procedures which can be undertaken with minimal risk. From Tumour removal, kidney surgery to complicated operations of heart like heart valve repair and cardiac surgeries etc.

Robotic heart surgery is a minimally invasive operation using minute incisions. It minimises the time duration of the surgery causing less pain, shorter length of stay, and improved cosmesis. Minimally invasive operations using robotics became a viable alternative to median sternotomy which is considered the gold standards for cardiac related operations. Today, heart surgeons perform complex Mitral Valve Repairs, Coronary Revascularisations, and other congenital heart surgery procedures using the robotic assistance.

The three-dimensional scopes coupled with articulating wrist facilitate a better movement in an enclosed space with six-degree freedom points as compared to traditional long-shafted instruments which limit the freedom movement to only four points. This enhancement suppresses any tremors that a surgeon faces during the surgery.

Robotic cardiac surgery is used mostly for operating and treating artery bypass procedures which ultimately results in an improved blood flow to the heart. Besides, the procedure is also effective in repairing leaky valves, arterial fibrillation correction which is a common type of Arrhythmia.

The technological advancements have eliminated some serious challenges, however, there still remain certain challenges that hamper the acceptance of robotic heart surgery. For example, many surgeons remain concerned about the absence of haptic feedback or what is known as the lack of human touch, in simpler terms. However, with progressive research and development in the field of medical technology, Robotics is likely to incorporate advanced features. Features like strain sensors will equip the instrument arms with a haptic touch feedback mechanism and a precise control of force. Along with miniaturisation of camera and other features, optics will improve allowing for a better dissection capability.

Thus the concept of a highly specialised robotics technology has arrived in India and is enabling the surgeons with most updated technology. Besides, the ongoing research and development in the field will push the benchmarks further and take the industry to the next level.

Dr. Amol Joshi

Dr. Ajay Kaul
Chairman & HOD
Cardio Thoracic and
Vascular Surgery (CTVS)
BLK Heart Centre
BLK Super Speciality
Hospital, New Delhi