It wasn’t until the onset of the 1980s and the late 1990s that surgical technology experienced a paradigm shift. As the operating room began to embrace new technologies, methods, and techniques, it became much easier, safer, and quicker to conduct complex surgical operations successfully. Today, surgical technology has completely transformed the medical field and is at the forefront of modern healthcare.
It incorporates various surgical devices, including cutting-edge imaging systems and robotic-assisted surgery. These technological advancements enable surgeons to work with enhanced speed, precision, and dexterity. We’ll examine seven different types of surgical technology and how they’ve reshaped the diagnosis, treatment, and care of patients.
Since the introduction of robotics-assisted surgery in the medical field, the past two decades have shown an increase in the application of robotic systems. Robotics-assisted surgery is widely acknowledged as one of the most successful types of surgical technology across different specialties in surgery, including cardiology, orthopedics, gynecology, and urology.
It offers numerous benefits that have changed the approach to intricate surgical operations. For instance, the da Vinci robotics system is well known for its precision, control, and stability. It aids surgeons in exercising greater accuracy beyond human abilities.
When using robotic systems in surgery, smaller incisions are made, lessening trauma. The result is less pain, scarring, hospitalized time, and faster recovery. This surgical technology also has cutting-edge imagery properties, giving surgeons a high-definition 3D perspective of the surgical area. Thus, surgeons better understand and can make more informed decisions during surgery.
2. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Among the different types of surgical technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making rapid strides in medicine. AI is reshaping surgical diagnostics and how surgeons make decisions. Through AI algorithms, accuracy and surgical outcomes are enhanced.
AI algorithms assess large volumes of medical information, including patient medical records, scans, and present-time surgical information. This data analysis is vital in proper diagnosis and planning of treatment. AI is also useful during surgery. It can guide a surgeon’s precision and decision-making and lessen the risk of making an error by offering real-time assistance.
Machine learning models aid in analyzing surgical data and making accurate predictions on surgical outcomes. They can detect inconsistencies that may pass unnoticed and lead to better decision-making. Accurate predictive analysis empowers surgeons to organize ideal treatment plans, modify surgical techniques, and lessen the risks of errors during surgery.
3. Virtual Reality(VR) and Augmented Reality(AR)
Immersive types of surgical technology have been accredited far and wide in modern healthcare. For instance, Virtual Reality(VR) and Augmented Reality) are extensively applied in surgery during training and surgical planning procedures. For both aspirants and fully-trained surgeons, VR and AR have many advantages.
Trainees can improve their skills through VR and AR. These two technologies replicate surgical sites and procedures on a realistic level. By constantly practicing in a safe and controlled virtual environment, trainees learn how to conduct surgical procedures without the risk of error.
AR is also useful when conducting real-life surgical procedures. Surgeons superimpose 3D images of the surgical site onto their field of view. The 3D images aid them in visualizing and planning intricate surgical procedures with better precision and accuracy.
4. 3D Printing and Custom Implants
Traditionally, surgical implants were made through molding and carving. However, lack of accuracy was a significant problem. The finished products often varied in size and shape. However, 3D printing has reformed the process. 3D printing methods offer unmatched precision.
There are several advantages to making custom 3D implants stand out. There’s customization, which ensures the implants are created precisely according to a patient’s needs. Not only are custom 3D implants patient-specific, but they also match each patient’s unique make-up and fit perfectly.
Patients feel less discomfort. A precise fit also improves the general functionality of the custom implant and lessens the chance of developing complications. Regarding advanced types of surgical technology, 3D printing methods can create intricate, biocompatible custom implant designs. Biocompatible implants are vital to successful patient outcomes in surgery specialties like orthopedic surgery.
5. Remote Surgery
Also defined as telerobotic or telesurgery, remote surgery is an advanced form of telemedicine. Surgical procedures are conducted using robotic systems operated remotely. What separates remote surgery from other types of surgical technology is that the surgeon isn’t physically present.
There’s no doubt remote surgery has great possibilities. However, it has a couple of setbacks. Real-time correspondence between the surgeon and the robotic systems can be affected if there’s a delay in signal transmission. There’s a huge margin for error when it happens.
Usually, telesurgery may involve crossing state or national borders. Complications may arise involving legal issues such as medical malpractice, licensure, and accountability. There’s also the reliance on technology, which, ironically, makes telesurgery susceptible to technical flaws. Equipment failure and problems with connectivity are potentially life-threatening.
6. Minimally Invasive Techniques
The advent of the types of surgical technology used today has led to the adoption of advanced surgical techniques. These improvements translate to more accurate, precise, and minimally invasive surgical procedures. This way, surgical outcomes have drastically improved, resulting in less body trauma, minimal complications, and faster recovery.
Visual technologies with high-resolution imagery like Ultrasound, MRI, and CT scans have aided surgeons in making informed decisions before and during surgery. Surgeons can also now use lasers to accurately vaporize, cut, or congeal tissue. Lasers reduce tissue damage and bleeding.
Less tissue damage and minimal incisions reduce pain and discomfort when recovering. Laser technology is ideal for specialties such as oral surgery. Minimal incisions lessen the chance of surgical infections and developing complications post-surgery.
7. Smart Surgical instruments
Smart surgical instruments highlight the quick progression of the various types of surgical technology available today. Smart surgical instruments are fitted with sensors and paired with computer systems. This connectivity allows real-time correspondence during surgery.
Using smart surgical instruments, surgeons can access real-time vital data, such as blood flow, temperature, and pressure. Surgeons can then optimize their surgical techniques. Visual technology is also integrated with smart instruments, like infrared imaging. It enhances precision during surgery.
Smart surgical instruments are intuitive. When a surgeon diverges from a pre-planned surgical procedure, smart instruments send an alert signal. Smart surgical instruments also notify the surgeon when there are likely errors, lessening the potential to cause complications during surgery.
Surgical Specialties That Have Adopted Surgical Technology
Technology continues to redefine the landscape of surgical procedures and techniques. The need to improve the modern types of surgical technology and make them accessible to everyone has led to the collaborative efforts of developers, healthcare establishments, and governing bodies. The integration of technology with medicine has endless benefits. Let’s look at six surgical specialties that have adopted surgical technology.
1. General Surgery
General surgery covers a wide variety of surgical conditions. A general surgeon is trained to perform surgical procedures on different body parts. They use medical data to determine a diagnosis and plan for the patient’s care before, during, and after surgical treatment. A general surgeon also supervises the application of anesthesia, pain medication, antibiotics, and important fluids through IV treatment.
2. Plastic Surgery
Plastic surgery involves altering a patient’s body anatomy to treat an existing medical condition or change physical appearance. A plastic surgeon performs two kinds of plastic surgery: reconstructive and cosmetic. Reconstructive surgery focuses on repairing body injuries caused by trauma or defects, restoring function to the affected area. This type of plastic surgery is also ideal for some medical conditions, like head and neck or breast cancer.
Cosmetic surgery deals with the enhancement of physical appearance. Cosmetic procedures are non-medical and focus on altering parts of the body a patient finds undesirable. A patient may want to alter the size, shape, or symmetry of the problem area.
3. Podiatric Surgery
Podiatric surgery involves the surgical treatment of the foot’s soft tissues, joints, and bones. Your local podiatrist can use a combination of conventional foot and ankle surgery and minimally invasive surgical procedures. Minimally invasive foot surgery has proven effective in podiatrist surgery. It reduces pain and discomfort pre- and post-surgery and encourages faster recuperation times.
4. Ocular Surgery
Ocular or ophthalmic surgery deals with eye and visual problems. Ophthalmologists also offer non-surgical services, including scheduled eye exams and prescribing contact lenses and eyeglasses. Eye surgeries can treat an eye injury, remove an eye, do a corneal transplant, improve a patient’s vision, or treat an underlying medical condition. Although an ophthalmologist is medically qualified for conclusive eye care, you can always see an optometrist near you for regular eye checkups.
5. Cardiac Surgery
Cardiac surgery, or cardiovascular surgery, treats various problems affecting the heart and blood vessels connected to the heart. Cardiac surgery treats underlying medical conditions like congenital heart disease. Cardiac surgery also focuses on heart-related problems that develop with advanced age. Coronary artery bypass grafting and surgical procedures that treat valve disease are common examples of cardiac surgery where surgical technology is used.
6. Pediatric Surgery
This surgery specialty addresses surgical problems in children. It deals with establishing a diagnosis and managing preoperative, operative, and postoperative care. Pediatric surgeons operate on children in the early phases of development, from newborns to teenagers.
Particular medical conditions in children may prevent them from leading a normal, healthy life. These conditions can be noticed immediately by a pediatric surgeon or your local pediatrician. They can help you evaluate your child’s medical care and determine if surgery is ideal.
Cost of Surgery
Despite the developments in modern surgery and the different types of surgical technology, the costs for healthcare are high. When surgery is deemed necessary, it puts a financial strain on patients with a limited budget or no insurance coverage. Ideally, no standardized monetary system ascertains hospital charges for a surgical procedure. Several factors determine hospital pricing, including a patient’s health condition, lab test expenses, operative and postoperative expenses, doctors’ fees, and medical prescriptions.
Surgeries also have a lot of healthcare professionals involved! There are a lot of costs to cover: consultation fees, your physician, attending nurses, operating room, surgical instruments and sterilization, recuperation room, and extended recuperation time. The overall cost of surgery differs significantly. It will largely depend on the surgical procedure being performed, your location, and medical insurance coverage. Here’s a closer look at the factors influencing the cost of surgeries:
1. The Type of Surgery
Some surgical procedures involve minimally invasive techniques and won’t cost as much. Major surgeries, however, require a lot of planning and preparation before, during, and after surgery. When more medical personnel are involved, and the surgical procedures are highly invasive with longer recovery times, you’ll have a higher medical bill.
There’s also the fact that not all types of surgery are covered by medical insurance. For instance, you may have to pay out of pocket for cosmetic surgery. Alternatively, you can try non-invasive treatment options at a medical spa.
2. In-patient and Out-patient care
Post-surgery, you’re moved to a recovery room. Remember, it will cost you more if you continue to recover in the hospital. A patient recovering in an Intensive Care Unit will be charged a lot more, regardless of the type of surgery.
3. Use of anesthesia
Local anesthesia numbs a small part of the patient’s body when performing a surgical or non-surgical procedure. It can sometimes be used in treatments like Botox injections. Major surgeries, on the other hand, use general anesthesia, which is administered by an anesthesiologist. The more anesthesia is involved, the more costly the bill gets.
4. Medical Facility and Insurance Cover
Hospital pricing differs. Although medical facilities may provide patients with a fee schedule covering a certain surgical procedure, you can’t know how much your medical bills will cost until your medical bill is processed. At best, hospital pricing helps you weigh your options when choosing a suitable medical facility. With medical insurance, insurers, and service providers often negotiate the price for the surgical procedure. Therefore, your insurance coverage level significantly impacts the cost of your surgery.
Much time, research, funding, technological integration, and other resources have been invested in modern surgery. With the constant evolution of technology and the reinvention of surgical systems, techniques, and procedures, surgery is becoming more affordable and accessible. Joint efforts have ensured the various types of surgical technology undergo continuous tests, modifications, and validation to achieve better results and pave the way for newer technologies. Patients can now establish personalized healthcare treatment plans and be guaranteed successful post-surgical outcomes.