Boston now boasts a hospital where robots have joined doctors to offer minimally invasive coronary artery bypass graft surgery to patients with severe blockages.
Dr. Robert Poston, the chief of cardiac surgery at Boston Medical Center, is the man behind this achievement.
He says that the robotically-assisted bypass surgery allows physicians to gain access to the heart with several small incisions, unlike conventional bypass surgery that requires the chest to be opened with a 6-10 inch incision at the breastbone (sternum.)
He says that even the small incisions are needed for placing the arms of the robot and a small camera that allow the surgeon to look through lenses on a computer console, which provide a 3-dimentional, 10-times-magnified image inside the patient's body.
The surgeon performing the operation himself controls the instrument's arms.
The robot's "wristed" instruments effectively mimic the movements of the surgeon's hands and wrist, providing the surgeon with flexibility and precise motion control as he 'harvests' one or more blood vessels from inside the chest cavity, to redirect one end to the heart surface beyond the blockage, bypassing the blockage, to restore blood flow to the heart.
Dr. Poston says that other benefits of the new surgical procedure are that it leaves fewer side effects and complications, less pain, and reduced risk of infection.
He says that the new procedure makes for faster recovery.