Once upon a time, surgical operations were carried out using rude instruments and often ended in the death of the patient. Today, surgery has stepped far forward and doctors are even able to carry out brain surgery to treat alcoholism. However, no one is immune from the fact that the surgeon’s hands can accidentally twitch and damage a person, therefore manufacturers of medical equipment are developing special robots that make the most precise movements. For example, recently in the scientific journal Nature Communications, a description was published of a MUSA robot surgeon who can stitch blood vessels up to 0.3 millimeters in diameter. The robot has already proved its efficiency by performing surgical operations involving real people.
According to the authors of a scientific article, the MUSA robot was developed by the Dutch company MicroSure for the so-called reconstructive microsurgery. Under this term, it is customary to understand the totality of surgical operations to restore lost tissue. Conducting this kind of surgery can be done by ordinary doctors, but this requires a lot of experience and strength. In addition, human labor is very expensive, and by providing work on tissue repair to robots, the cost of operations can be significantly reduced. Judging by the test results, the MUSA robotic system copes with the tasks no worse than experienced surgeons.
The performance of the MUSA surgeon was tested during operations on 20 volunteers. All of them were women suffering from breast cancer, which subsequently caused the development of lymphostasis. This term is used by doctors to refer to the accumulation of fluid in the intercellular space, the cause of which is a violation of the lymphatic current.
For the treatment of lymphostasis, as a rule, a surgical operation is performed, which implies the connection of blood vessels and capillaries. It is noteworthy that the more small vessels the surgeons manage to recover, the healthier the person becomes. The MUSE robot performs this task by copying the movements of a real surgeon in several times reduced scale. At the same time, computer algorithms capture the shaking of the hands of the managing surgeon and give the robot commands only to perform clear movements. Thus, the robot reduces the likelihood of a medical error and increases the chances of a successful operation.
3.5 months after the operation, the researchers compared the speed and quality of MUSE with the results of real surgeons. According to them, the quality of the seams made by robots was no worse than if they were made by human hands. Only now, the robot performed the operation on average 2 hours, while usually it takes about 1.5 hours. But the developers believe that such a big difference in working time is due to the fact that people who control the robot are not yet used to working with the system. So in the future, such operations can be carried out much more accurately and faster. But it’s not known whether the cost of surgical interventions will decrease, because people are still involved in the business and the system does not know how to work independently.