The first generation of surgical robots was notable for performing image-guided precision tasks, but was limited by the need for preoperative planning and basic computer interfaces. The evolution of surgical robots has led to a current generation of real-time telemanipulators.
The development of telesurgery arose in the 1970s with the da Vinci® Surgical and the Zeus® system. The routine use of telesurgical applications is still under development. In addition to technical challenges, there are many medical-legal, billing and liability issues that must be resolved to enable telesurgery across state and national boundaries. Progress has been made in telementoring, where specialist surgeons can mentor local surgeons through telepresence.
Telesurgery remains in its infancy. Significant challenges remain for the field including the cost-effectiveness, access to bandwidth, regulations and adoption. Another current limitation is the lack of tactile feedback that removes the key aspect of feel from the surgeon’s hands.
Despite current limitations, the potential of surgical robotics and telesurgery is enormous. The ability to deliver surgical expertise to distant locations will benefit patients worldwide.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Allaf ME, Jackman SV, Schulam PG et al (1998) Laparoscopic visual field. Voice vs foot pedal interfaces for control of the AESOP robot. Surg Endosc 12:1415–1418PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cubano M, Poulose BK, Talamini MA et al (1999) Long distance telementoring. A novel tool for laparoscopy aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. Surg Endosc 13:673–678PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wagner AA, Varkarakis IM, Link RE et al (2006) Comparison of surgical performance during laparoscopic radical prostatectomy of two robotic camera holders, EndoAssist and AESOP: a pilot study. Urology 68:70–74PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar