Do Robotic Surgeries Increase the Risk for Injury?

Modern Operating RoomMedical Malpractice Attorneys Helping Victims of Robotic Surgeries

Today, medical technology can do a lot to minimize risks – especially in the operating room. More surgeries are laser-guided, or even have robotics doing a majority of the operation. The thought behind this technology is that robotics could reduce the rate of human error. But, how risky is a robotic surgery in the first place? While hospitals tout about the benefits, some physicians are still concerned at the number of errors seen within these procedures. If you are a patient and your doctor is recommending a robotic surgery, you will want to weigh the pros and cons before making your decision.

Risks versus Rewards of Robotic Operations

While robotics surgery is considered safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the FDA is still reviewing the data after a large number of reports have been released regarding serious (and life-threatening) complications. According to a new report by AARP, as of August 2012, there were 71 deaths reported due to robotic surgeries. Also, adverse events increased by 34 percent between 2011 and 2012 after robotics were introduced into the operating room. This prompted the FDA to launch their own investigation.

Still, that does not mean that all robotic-led surgeries will result in injury. Some pros to using robotics include:

  • Robotics often rely on computer screens. These magnify everything in 3D ,so that the surgeon can see better. With a better field of vision, there could be a decreased risk for injury.
  • Robotics may decrease physician fatigue. Surgeons will work the controls while sitting at a console, instead of standing over their patient for extended periods of time.
  • The robotic can correct a surgeon’s hand tremors. This can offer a steady hand during surgery.
  • Minimally invasive robotics can result in less blood loss for the patient. This can equate to faster recoveries and a smaller incision overall.
  • Robotics play a role in cancer surgeries. These were once complex, and required long-term recoveries. With robotics, the procedure and recovery could be more successful.

As with any type of surgical procedure, robotics carries their own risks, too, including:

  • Nerve damage in a still position. Because some robotic procedures require the patient to sit in awkward and dangerous positions for long periods of time, this can be damaging.
  • Surgeons who use a robotic system do not get the same tactile feedback that they do when they are directly cutting into a patient’s tissues. Therefore, they can accidentally hit adjacent organs, or sever nerves.
  • Machines can also cause burns from their electric currents. This would then cause additional pain and discomfort, or even injury, for patients.

Also, there are no training standards for robotic surgical operations. The training is provided via online instruction, or by the surgical equipment representative (who is rarely a medical doctor, or even a healthcare professional). Lastly, patients are rarely informed of all of the risks involved in robotic surgical procedures. Failure to notify a patient of these risks could lead to serious injury, and is considered negligent on the part of the physician.

Were You Injured in a Surgical Procedure?

Whether your surgery was performed by a robotic piece of equipment or an actual surgeon’s hands, your injury could be the result of negligence. If negligence played a role in your medical injuries, you could be eligible for compensation. You will need to speak with the medical malpractice attorneys at Carey, Danis & Lowe Attorneys at Law first to have your case assessed. We offer free consultations – schedule yours today by calling 877-678-3400, or filling out our online contact form with your legal questions.