Robotic Chest Surgery in India – The Journey so far & the way ahead

The word “Surgery” has traditionally been synonymous with big cuts, blood loss, postoperative pain, numerous postoperative complications including wound infection, several days in the hospital, long time to recovery, prolonged absence from work and in many cases, death also. While many of these were due to the procedure itself, a lot of these problems were due to “opening” made in the body in order to be able to do the surgery. This “opening” or “access” to the target area traditionally required long cuts to go inside, which involved cutting the skin, muscles (as in abdomen) or muscles and bone (as in chest). Traditionally, surgeons have preferred making “long incisions” for wide exposure and hence the saying, “Big Surgeons Make Big Incisions.” While this has been very comfortable for the surgeons, it inflicted lot of trauma on the patient. The patient does get cured of the disease, but the quality of life did not necessarily improve because of the trauma of access (big incisions). The development of technology in the field of surgical sciences has always been with two major aims: “Make it easy for the surgeon” & “Make it least invasive for patient.” This led to the concept of “minimal access surgery” where the “same surgery” can be done without the large cuts and its trauma. With these aims in mind, endoscopy (laparoscopy) came on the horizon.