Could robots replace surgeons?


You’ve heard of driverless cars but how do you feel about driverless surgery? Medical researchers are working on robots, to take the place of doctors.

Jessica Rendall reports.

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These robots will operate autonomously using ultrasound technology to see inside a patient’s body.

Initially the robots should be able to perform keyhole surgeries, such as knee repairs.

Dr. Fontanarosa, QUT Medical Science Lecturer: “This is a platform project which means we will probably be able to apply the same concepts to other body regions, like the hip or the shoulder.”

Medical robots free up experienced surgeons for more complex operations, as well as reduce health costs.

They’ll improve patient safety too, human error is one of the main causes of damage during operations.

Dr. Davide Fontanarosa, QUT Medical Science Lecturer: “Robots are more accurate than humans once you give them information about [the] position and location of things.”

Maria Antico is a PHD student, who’s working on the programming of the robots.

Maria Antico, PHD Student: “In research you never know what at the end will work, [or] won’t work so let’s hope everything works and we will have such an autonomous system that could perform in a safe and accurate way.”

Surgical robots already exist in the medical field, but require highly trained doctors to operate them.

These robots? Will they will be able to do it all on their own?

The team hopes to have a blueprint detailing how the robots would work soon.

Depending on funding, a working prototype could be developed within just five years.

Jessica Rendall, QUT News.