Robotic surgery is a procedure that is being performed more frequently by hospitals and surgeons. According to iData Research, over 693,000 robotic assisted procedures were performed throughout the United States in 2017. That’s a lot of procedures in a short amount of time, and that number is said to increase as the technology of medical devices and sensors advance.

This method is being chosen over typical surgeries because there is evidence to show that robotic assisted surgeries have better long term outcomes. Further, most robotic surgeries are minimally invasive. “Minimally invasive” means that smaller incisions are able to be made because the surgical instruments are miniaturized compared to human hands, allowing for a very small incision to be made in most cases.

Of course, many people wonder: is it safe? Can we really trust robots to perform surgery on humans? Well, it’s important to remember that surgical robots are heavily supervised by human eyes. Even with robots in the room, human surgeons are in control. 

Still, the question remains: are they safe and effective? A recent study of a single surgical robot in Korea found that yes, they are.

The concept of robotic assisted procedures may sound concerning at first, but once you understand some of the technology that makes it possible, there’s a good chance that your feelings of doubt will turn into feelings of amazement. 

How Sensors Are Integrated Into Surgical Devices

There is perhaps nothing more important to robotic design than sensors. Sensors are what give robots their livelihood after all.  Many sensors are integrated into medical instruments for a wide variety of reasons, one being how much force the instrument is applying to a patient, or to detect any air bubbles and preventing them from entering a patient’s body.  

Force sensors are used in urinary incontinence medical devices. These systems monitor a patient’s urine flow path outside of the bladder in order to help diagnose and treat any issues. A force sensor is used to monitor the amount of force in which the catheter tip is inserted into the patient to ensure there is no damage or pain as a result.

Bubble and occlusion sensors are used in RF ablation medical devices to treat such medical issues as heart issues, tumors, and back pain. Generally, an ablation system is made up of an RF generator, control and monitoring equipment, antenna, and a cooling pump. This system requires a sensor with the ability to detect bubbles that are passing through the device, both to prevent any air from entering the patient’s bloodstream. While the bubble sensor is working, so is the occlusion sensor, this sensor helps to monitor the tubing related to the pump for any blockages that would affect the entire system.

Looking To Integrate Load Cells Into Your Robotic Projects? Contact SMD

We at SMD Sensors have already fitted a robotic hand with an appropriate load cell; we’ve also created solutions with pressure sensors, and used air-in-line and flow sensors in multiple surgical devices. Contact us today., our experienced team of engineers will gladly develop a solution that’s right for you.

Get in touch today for more information