Surgical procedures have vastly improved over the past few decades as specialists constantly look for ways to improve outcomes and reduce complications. Open surgeries are still the go-to option for complex or emergent situations, but other minimally invasive approaches are quickly revolutionizing the surgical field.
One such option is robotic stomach surgery in Orange County. Before you start imagining robot surgeons, explore this guide to learn what robotic surgery is and why it’s becoming so popular. Here’s a hint: robot surgery isn’t as futuristic as you might think.
What Is Robotic Surgery?
Robotic stomach surgery in Orange County is a relatively new approach to surgery that implements robotic technology to enhance the surgeon’s visibility and improve results. Despite the name, robotic surgery still has significant human interaction. A board-certified surgeon still manages the equipment, making it more of a robotic-assisted surgery than a fully robotic surgery.
The setup involves robotic arms placed over or around the patient, with the surgeon seated at a console where they view 3D images of the surgical area. During the procedure, the surgeon controls the arms at the console, thereby controlling and moving the surgical instruments.
This approach completely differs from a traditional open procedure, which involves an incision large enough for the surgeon to physically handle the organs and tissues. It is, however, similar to a laparoscopic surgery. Both procedures use tiny incisions, just big enough to insert long, thin instruments. That said, robotic surgery uses more advanced tools that improve visibility.
The Rise of Robotic Surgery: Why It’s Gaining Popularity
Laparoscopic surgery has become the preferred intra-abdominal procedure, thanks to its minimally invasive approach—and robotic surgery is quickly following in its footsteps.
Robotic stomach surgery in Orange County offers many of the same benefits as laparoscopic procedures but takes them to the next level. For example, both laparoscopic and robotic surgeries are minimally invasive procedures that require only a few tiny incisions and shorten recovery.
However, robotic surgery utilizes much more advanced equipment that enhances visibility and agility for more accurate results and reduces the risk of complications. Some patients might qualify for single-incision robotic surgery, which reduces the recovery time, blood loss, and surgical trauma even more.
Additional benefits of robotic surgery include shorter hospital stays, quick return of bowel function, and diverse applications across different medical fields. For instance, surgeons use robotic surgery to treat gastrointestinal and abdominal conditions like stomach cancer, hernias, and gallbladder issues.
Questions Every Patient Should Ask Before Robotic Surgery
Before a patient commits to robotic surgery, they should ask a few questions. Not only does this help foster an open conversation with the surgeon, but it also sets realistic expectations and ensures the specialist is capable of effectively handling the procedure.
Here are a few questions to get the conversation started:
- How experienced is the surgeon with robotic procedures?
- How frequently does the medical facility perform robotic surgeries?
- What are the specific benefits of my particular procedure/situation?
- Are there any potential risks or complications associated with robotic surgery?
- What’s the recovery process compared to traditional surgery?
Myths and Misconceptions About Robotic Surgery
When people hear “robotic” anything, the first thing they picture is often a humanoid robot performing the tasks. This might sound intimidating since it removes any human touch from the procedure. However, this is far from the reality of “robotic surgery”—at least for now.
Robotic surgery simply means the surgeon uses a more advanced laparoscopic tool that enhances the surgeon’s skills. One common tool for robotic surgery is the state-of-the-art da Vinci Surgery System, which offers improved vision and dexterity for the surgeon and minimal surgical trauma for the patient.
Another common misconception is that robotic equipment reduces surgical quality since the surgeon doesn’t actually touch or handle the organs. While it is true that robotic surgery isn’t hands-on like an open procedure, that doesn’t reduce the procedural quality. The opposite is true.
The equipment offers much more enhanced visibility and precision compared to traditional procedures. Surgeons then develop visual cues to replace the traditional sense of touch, maintaining—and even improving—the overall surgical quality.
A final myth about robotic surgery is that it’s more dangerous since the equipment is prone to malfunctions. Again, this is true, but only in part. Any type of surgical equipment is at risk for malfunctions, but experienced surgeons put numerous security checks in place to identify issues as soon as possible. The equipment also has security measures in place that prevent it from causing the patient any injury in the rare case that it malfunctions. Overall, robotic surgery is much safer than traditional operations.
Robotic Surgery: Risks and Considerations
A major reason robotic stomach surgery in Orange County is so popular is it presents fewer risks than more traditional methods. The simple fact that the surgeon doesn’t need to open the entire abdomen decreases complications with bleeding, infection, and delayed recovery. Aside from that, the enhanced visibility and dexterity help eliminate human errors during the procedure.
Several studies have proven the reduced complications connected with robotic stomach surgery in Orange County. For example, a 2021 report found that over 90% of procedures had no intraoperative adverse events, and nearly 70% experienced no post-op complications. Most of the most-op complications that did occur were grade 1, meaning they were extremely minor. This study also explored the risk of infection (specifically COVID-19) during robotic surgery; only one person had a positive test result after the surgery.
Another report found that most laparoscopic and robotic surgery complications occur during equipment entry. It states that any secondary complications are easily avoidable with adherence to surgical principles. In other words, choosing a surgeon experienced with robotic surgery makes all the difference in avoiding secondary complications.
Post-Surgery: What to Expect
Surgeons use robotic surgery for many procedures, so the exact recovery timeline varies by person and operation. That said, recovery is usually much quicker and less complex than traditional open surgery.
Patients should expect a shorter hospital stay—or even no stay at all if it occurs in an outpatient facility. Once home, patients should rest, follow any post-op dietary restrictions, and slowly begin light exercises (like walking) as the pain diminishes. The entire recovery period might take 1-3 weeks, while a traditional surgery recovery often takes months.
Again, the exact post-op experience depends on the procedure, so patients should ask their surgeon what to expect before the surgery. They should also attend all follow-up appointments to quickly catch any potential complications.
The Future of Robotic Surgery
While robotic surgery is fairly new in the medical field, the same system has been used for about 20 years. That means that it’s time for new technology and an even more advanced robotic approach, which is exactly what medical robotics experts are developing.
According to a 2022 report, several organizations and startups are working on developing the next generation of robotic surgery tools. Another consideration for future robotic surgery is the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. AI is already taking most other industries by storm, thanks to its ability to recognize patterns and make predictions. And that ability is quite useful in robotic surgery, identifying patterns that were previously imperceptible to the surgeon.
Insurance and Financial Considerations
Robotic surgery often costs more than open or laparoscopic procedures due to the advanced equipment involved. However, the good news is that insurance companies often cover the surgery—or at least a portion.
Insurance companies base their coverage on medical necessity. If a patient needs a procedure for diagnosis or treatment, insurance helps cover the cost. It doesn’t matter if the patient elects a robotic or laparoscopic procedure; the bottom line is the medical necessity of the procedure.
Of course, each insurance plan is different. Patients should immediately contact their insurance company to review their plan and determine how much they need to pay and how much the insurance covers. Once they have that answer, patients should discuss payment options with their surgeon. Some facilities offer payment plans, so it’s always worth discussing financing options with the surgeon.
Robotic surgery isn’t the basis for a sci-fi movie. Instead, it’s an innovative approach to provide surgeons with increased visibility and precision when performing surgeries.
Hopefully, the information above answered a lot of your questions. But you should still schedule a consultation with a surgeon to discuss whether robotic stomach surgery in Orange County is the right option for you. Ask as many questions as you need to develop an open conversation and prepare yourself for the upcoming procedure.
To find out if inguinal hernia repair surgery is right for you, Contact Orange County General Robotic Surgery at (714) 706-1257 for a consultation with Dr. Abtin H. Khosravi.