Belsky Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC A Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Law Firm

Robots being developed that can perform soft tissue surgery

Maryland residents may aware of how the field of robotics is moving from repetitive task machines to artificial intelligence. While robots have long been used in manufacturing and other industries, they are now being combined with complex computer software to make life-and-death decisions. Today, artificial intelligence is being used to develop driverless cars and surgical tools.

Robots have already been used to help surgeons perform complicated procedures such as extracting hard-to-reach tumors and taking pictures of the inside of a patient's body. All of the current uses for robotic technology in medicine aid the physician without replacing the need for a human being. However, researchers say that they have now developed an autonomous robot that can perform soft tissue surgery by itself.

In a 2016study, surgeons at the Children's National Medical Center in the District of Columbia demonstrated how the Smart-Tissue Autonomous Robot could apply sutures to a pig's bowel with greater accuracy than a human surgeon. With a robotic arm and imaging, STAR used surgical tools to stitch the bowel segments. The robot decided where to place each stitch using visual markers and pressure. Performing surgery on soft tissue is more difficult than performing surgery on hard tissue like bone because soft tissue is always moving.

If there is a mistake during a surgical procedure involving a medical robot or medical software, the patient could very well suffer a worsened medical condition. An attorney representing a plaintiff will have to conduct an extensive investigation before determining the party or parties that should bear financial responsibility.

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