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Using robots for surgery

A new development may be of interest to residents of New Mexico. A recent study found that a supervised autonomous robot performed soft-tissue surgery better than its' human counterpart.

The researchers, all surgeons at Children's National Medical Center, used the robot to perform surgery on the bowels of pigs. While robots have been used previously during operations, the majority of them are used in surgeries involving bone. Using the robots to perform soft-tissue surgery is considered to be more difficult since soft tissue can move. In the study, the robot was able to determine what type of sutures needed to be used and where to place them, and it did so with accuracy.

The researchers are hoping to eventually develop the artificial intelligence to the extent that the robot will be able to perform difficult surgeries entirely autonomously. The idea isn't to replace human surgeons but rather to supplement them. The researchers believe that the robots may help surgeons learn how to improve their own surgical practice by demonstrating how operations should be done. One issue is that a robot may not be able to react appropriately to complications, but for now, developers believe that having a surgeon present during a procedure can help lower the possibility of a problem from occurring.

While the researchers believe the use of artificial intelligence to perform surgeries will cut down on the rates of injuries caused by medical malpractice, errors are still likely to happen. Artificial intelligence may have problems with coding and could be potentially hacked. Errors could also happen when surgeons have to take over to handle complications during surgery. Still, if medical errors can be significantly reduced with the use of robots for surgery, thousands of lives across the country could potentially be saved each year. People who are injured by surgical errors may want to talk to a medical malpractice lawyer about their rights.

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