ROBOTICS

Robots lend a helping hand to esophageal surgeons

robotic-surgeon-rep-afp Representational Image | AFP

Robots are no longer just useful tools to make life easy and convenient; turns out, some of them can offer key advantages in esophageal surgeries.

Based on what is believed to be the largest study of its kind, Allina Health researchers say robotic assisted transhiatal esophagectomy (RATE) is effective and safe for a carefully selected group of patients.

Robotic technology gives surgeons a better view during surgery, and lymph nodes can be removed without additional incisions on the patient.

"Very few centers have adopted robots for this procedure because of the technical difficulties and unique skills that are needed by the surgeons and the operating room staff," said principle investigator Daniel Dunn. "But the robotic arms can turn and twist and reach more places than human hands will ever be able to."

The study is based on 100 patients, most of whom had cancer, at Virginia Piper Cancer Institute―Abbott Northwestern. Clinical and safety information was interpreted by the Allina research team and survival data was analysed by a collaborator at Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota.

The study appears in the journal Diseases of the Esophagus.

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