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What is Robotic Assisted Bariatric Surgery?

One of the major reasons that bariatric surgery has become more prevalent in the mainstream is because of its increased precision. Much of this increased precision is due to relatively new robotic assistance technology that reduces, and in some cases eliminates, human error in certain bariatric procedures.

Robotic assistance technology has been especially successful in certain procedures including laparoscopic surgery. Here is a short description of robotic assisted bariatric surgery as well as some of its highlights.

What Exactly is Robotic Assisted Bariatric Surgery?

Robotic assisted bariatric surgery is fairly self-explanatory: Surgeons use robots instead of humans to complete certain aspects of a procedure that do not require a human touch. Because robots are much more precise than humans, many bariatric surgery procedures have more successful outcomes with significantly lower leak rates.

Clinical trials have revealed lower complication rates and shorter operation times in robotic gastric bypass procedures. Revisional bariatric procedures also show improved rates of completion and shorter operating times when robots are used.

Many surgeons report a superior field of vision, better ergonomics and more operating freedom when using robotics, and no study has shown that there is ever an increase in risk to the patient in robotic assisted procedures. As a matter of fact, robots actually overcome some of the common limitations in laparoscopic surgery.

Highlights in Robotic Assisted Surgery Procedures

Robotic assistance seems to be most helpful in extremely obese patients with BMI readings over 50 kg/m². In these patients, human movement and field of vision is the most limited because of the excess weight, thick abdominal walls and higher risk of anesthesia.

Surgeons have been searching for quite some time for a way to improve the ergonomics of super obese and super super obese patients (defined as patients with a BMI above 60 kg/m²), and robotics seems to be the most effective path forward on this journey.

Robotics also provide surgeons with three dimensional vision. Robots have the advantage of enabling fine tissue dissection and removing all physiological tremors from surgical procedures.

Robots are also unaffected from the torque that comes from especially thick abdominal walls, and trauma to the body of the patient is reduced because of the remote center technology. The one caveat to robotic assistance is that it is much more expensive than laparoscopy, and it also takes longer to set up.

However, these costs are expected to go down with time as more bariatric surgeons implement the technology.