Robots Performing Surgeries On Pigs? The Impact Of Robotics In Medicine by@manassehhh

Robots Performing Surgeries On Pigs? The Impact Of Robotics In Medicine

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Kobbe Abu

Writes better copy than the Queen of England. Also enjoys reading novels and manga.

With the world in constant evolution and technology making it easier for people to more efficiently and effectively do their day-to-day jobs, the creation of robots to assist and support medical workers is one of the most promising things that could ever happen. 

Robots are programmable physical machines that are adept in carrying out complicated tasks and activities, some of these robots can be controlled through external means while others have their control board within them.

Although robots have been used to help out in surgical procedures within the medical community since 2017, these surgeries were not carried out independently by these robots. The robots were assisted using a “tele-manipulator” which was controlled through a computer by medical practitioners who conducted the surgeries.

A tele-manipulator allows surgeons to operate according to the typical mechanism related to the surgery while using the robot’s hands to carry out motions, this helps prevent trembling and vibrations in the surgeon’s hands thereby giving his work a more sophisticated and clean look.


With the presence of robots helping out in the medical field, changing how surgeries are done and enhancing the patient’s care, some people are still skeptical about utilising these machines.

While most are scared of the idea of entrusting their lives to inanimate machines that carry out delicate surgical procedures, others argue that the benefits a robot could bring to both the medical community and individual lives is less when compared to the possible disadvantages. 

Despite the arguments and uncertainties, these machines are quickly taking over the medical field and making a difference in it. Below are some benefits of robotics in healthcare:

Surgical accuracy: These machines are of a great advantage because of their inability to feel or experience fatigue. They do not need to sleep or eat, they can not get tired neither can they complain about performing daily jobs. Since surgery is an intense activity that requires precision and accuracy, the presence of these machines make it easier for surgeries to be carried out more efficiently and precisely.

Accurate diagnosis: The robots aid in carrying out detailed diagnoses by detecting patterns that characterise a particular condition.

Surgeon training: Robots with the use of artificial intelligence can train fresh surgeons and assist them in improving their capabilities and potential.

Increasing patient satisfaction: This technology is efficient as it assists the practitioners who try their best to guarantee the health of patients by checking their conditions, making appointments and stocking up medical inventories. They could also carry out different tasks which includes; reminding patients to take their daily medications, setting up rooms, keeping the lonely ones company as well as monitoring patients and providing therapeutic regimens.

Disinfect hospitals: Statistics state that most people die in hospitals suffering from Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI). Robots help disinfect and clean medical wards, relieve staff from extra work and give them a chance to engage with patients while creating an infection-free hospital.

Exoskeleton’s power: These robots would be able to help human beings perform heavy lifting duties. They can also assist handicapped patients.

Tele-medical network: This is created for increased accessibility to virtual medical care. For example, if a patient lives in a secluded area and needs assistance and the medical professionals are unable to meet them in time he/she can easily gain access to medical care through his/her cell phone and computer.

Other benefits of robotics in healthcare include rehabilitation. Their participation involves trauma as they are more concise, and their operations less intrusive which makes the patient experience less pain and quicker recovery. Also, they are more equipped to treat those suffering from COVID-19 as they do not need to wear masks and are not contagious.


For the first time in medical history, it was recorded that some robots successfully carried out a laparoscopic surgery unaided by humans. This surgery also known as keyhole surgery is a delicate soft-tissue surgery carried out in the bowels of a human, albeit this procedure was done on pigs.

The surgery requires a delicate, intense, and difficult technique that employs an impressive level of precision, accuracy and a high level of cautiousness because a slight mistake such as the quiver of a hand could lead to disastrous complications. 

The surgery involved joining the two ends of an intestine with repetitive movements which is quite challenging since the surgeon had to apply sutures consistently.

The robot was an improvement of an old version that worked successfully on pigs but required a great deal of human intervention and supervision.

This surgery was performed by the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) which was developed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. This collection of robots have been in development for a couple of years now with researchers working tirelessly to enhance it. 

Upon analysis, it was recorded that after the surgery on pigs, the result was said to be much better than the humans who performed the same surgery.

The developers of STAR robotics during an interview said the robots were mainly built for patching up soft tissues, they mentioned that it was difficult to determine whether they could carry out the procedure or not because they could sometimes be unpredictable.

Extra features such as cutting-edge image technology and special suturing devices were added to them, and they also had a control system that was capable of modifying the surgery plan like a human doctor.

The robotics technology would continue to expand with machines fully operating on humans. With the development of the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot program paving ways for other robotic enhancements, there would exist more robots trained and programmed to perform larger and bigger operations in the nearest future without human aid. These robots would not just be made for the sole purpose of carrying out surgical procedures but will also be capable of administering vaccines without the use of needles.


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