NBN Co Blog
Wed 17 OCTComment
Healing hands with a robotic touch
Posted on Wednesday 17 October 2012 by Dan Warne
A new robot in Nepean Hospital, NSW, can perform some operations better than human surgeons, according to one specialist.
That's not to say the robot does its own thing on autopilot -- it is still controlled by a surgeon, but has multiple 'hands' -- not just two -- and is capable of operating at unusual angles and with very fine movements that would be challenging for a human surgeon.
It can also be connected to broadband and used for surgery in areas where there aren't enough surgeons to operate on patients needing procedures.
It has been proven and refined over the past 10 years, so patients are able to be reassured that it's not 'bleeding edge' technology, either (pardon the pun!)
The first surgical robot in a NSW Public Hospital has been commissioned at Nepean Hospital and is initially being used to provide treatment for prostate cancer. It is also capable of doing other operations through keyhole incisions.
Operations done with a similar robot in private hospitals have reduced hospital stays for patients from 10 days to three, according to NSW Health Minister, Jillian Skinner.
With adequate broadband speeds, there's potential for robotic surgery in remote and regional areas, too.
If hospitals in these areas had the robot installed, a surgeon could control the robot remotely and operate on a patient from afar, as long as appropriate support staff were present with the patient.
Surgeons will start being trained at Nepean Hospital in robotic surgery from now on. Training a surgeon in using the robot takes around six weeks.
The head of Nepean Centre for Robotic Surgery, Professor Mohamed Khadra, says the robot still amazes him - that it's science fiction made real.
But there's an even more exciting future for the technology. "Give me an NBN and another robot somewhere else, and another bit of science fiction will become reality, and that is telesurgery," Khadra says.
Check out the news report on Yahoo!7 -- it's amazing stuff.
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