Robotics make the anesthesiologist's arm "longer"

According to foreign media reports, surgical robots can be used for remote anesthesia. The researchers conducted a series of simulation studies to evaluate the feasibility of surgical robotic assisted regional anesthesia procedures. The simulation experiment used the existing surgical robot, the Da Vinci system. Consisting of four robotic arms and a high-definition stereo camera, it can be used to perform various types of robot-assisted surgery.

This process is not performed on a real patient, but an ultrasound "human body model" is used to simulate the anesthesiologist's ultrasound-guided operation. The anesthesiologist is in the operating room, but away from the robotic arm and the simulated "patient", using the DaVinci system operator console to perform the operation.

After the ultrasound probe is placed, the anesthesiologist can successfully perform a simulated nerve block process, including identifying the nerve structure, picking up the needle and positioning the target nerve, and finally completing the injection. The surgical robot is then used to try a more advanced regional anesthesia: placing a perivascular catheter to achieve a sustained nerve block. Although some of the steps must be done manually, most of the complex catheter placement processes can be successfully completed with the DaVinci system. There are some important limitations in performing the simulation, including some steps that must be done manually, and the multi-million dollar price of the Da Vinci system is another clinical application barrier. However, “simulation tests have demonstrated that robotic-assisted regional anesthesia using existing clinical equipment is feasible,” Dr. Tighe and colleagues write. Further research is needed to promote the development of this concept, including "optimizing the interface between robots and other nerve block devices".

In the future, robotics can be used to perform long-range "remote anesthesia" operations. “There are very few skilled regional anesthesiologists who can’t meet their needs,” commented Dr. Steven L. Shafer, Columbia University’s editor-in-chief, anesthesia and pain. “This technology is still in its infancy. If future research shows that it is feasible, a trained anesthesiologist can provide specialized nerve block for dozens of patients worldwide in one day. There will still be The anesthesiologist takes care of the patient's needs and needs to deal with various complications and provide an alternative anesthesia once anesthesia fails."

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