Robotics are used in nearly every industry today in some fashion. One of the more controversial areas, surgery, can inspire concerns for safety in many people.

In 2017, iData Research reported 693,000 robotic procedures in the U.S. Originally developed for surgeries on the battlefield, robotics are used in approximately 86% of all minimally invasive surgeries.

Which surgeries use robotics?

While the robotic surgery industry grows every year, new technologies are created to be used in a wide range of procedures. The most common robotic procedures involve:

  • Female reproductive systems (gynecologic)
  • Prostate
  • Head and neck
  • Colon and rectum (colorectal)
  • Gallbladder (gastrointestinal)
  • Heart
  • Joints

Is it safe?

In most procedures, the surgeon controls the robotic arms from a console. Many of these systems have advantages over other techniques, like 3D cameras that give a more comprehensive view of the area being operated on. They also have a better ability to navigate small areas, leading to a rise in more minimally invasive options for procedures. This creates less risks and shorter rehabilitation times. Instead of an open procedure, using minimally invasive options can also mean less pain and blood loss.

Since surgeons control robotic tools, the safety of the procedures really depends on the doctor. With so many technological advancements, there can be a period of learning in which the procedures take longer. If your surgeon has experience in successfully performing robotic surgeries, the procedure will likely be relatively safe. It’s best to always discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.