When most people think of NASA, surgical technology is not usually the first thing that comes to mind. But in fact, NASA was a major supporter of robotic surgical research. In order to be able to perform remote procedures, the space exploration agency invested in developing precision technology. Thanks to technology transfer, the use of robotics has now entered more earthbound surgical practices.
When robotics were first introduced in surgery, the technology was optimized for and often used in minimal access surgery, or surgery that is done with or more small incisions. One of the first applications for the technology was to help facilitate minimally-invasive cardiac surgery. Because facial plastic surgery can involve a larger incision, robotic technology has not been adopted in cosmetic surgery as quickly as other procedures. But some plastic specialists are beginning to explore this new frontier in technology.
The Power of Precision
One great advantage of surgical robotics is the incredible accuracy with which the technology can perform tasks. Because of its accuracy, plastic surgeons–who must execute a procedure with skilled precision–are exploring ways to incorporate the technology into practice. Some examples of surgeries that have been aided by robotics include:
- Transoral robotic reconstructive surgery, a procedure to remove cancer in the head and neck area
- Pediatric cleft surgery
- Velopharyngeal surgery, a procedure related to the structure that is responsible for separation of the oral and nasal cavities
Although robotic plastic surgery is still in its initial stages of development, its potential is vast. As machines become smaller and processing speeds increase, the possibilities for high-precision techniques is ever increasing. Other advancements such as augmented reality systems promise to change the way plastic surgeons approach surgical cases.
Dr. Alexis D. Furze, a California board certified facial plastic surgeon, uses the most advanced surgical techniques in the field. If you would like to learn more about the state-of-the-art technologies Dr. Furze employs, contact him at his Orange County office to schedule an appointment.