Robotic surgery: a current perspective

Ann Surg. 2004 Jan;239(1):14-21. doi: 10.1097/01.sla.0000103020.19595.7d.


Objective: To review the history, development, and current applications of robotics in surgery.

Background: Surgical robotics is a new technology that holds significant promise. Robotic surgery is often heralded as the new revolution, and it is one of the most talked about subjects in surgery today. Up to this point in time, however, the drive to develop and obtain robotic devices has been largely driven by the market. There is no doubt that they will become an important tool in the surgical armamentarium, but the extent of their use is still evolving.

Methods: A review of the literature was undertaken using Medline. Articles describing the history and development of surgical robots were identified as were articles reporting data on applications.

Results: Several centers are currently using surgical robots and publishing data. Most of these early studies report that robotic surgery is feasible. There is, however, a paucity of data regarding costs and benefits of robotics versus conventional techniques.

Conclusions: Robotic surgery is still in its infancy and its niche has not yet been well defined. Its current practical uses are mostly confined to smaller surgical procedures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / instrumentation
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neurosurgery / instrumentation
  • Orthopedic Procedures / instrumentation
  • Risk Assessment
  • Robotics / standards
  • Robotics / trends*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / standards
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / trends*
  • United States
  • Urologic Surgical Procedures / instrumentation