The Roboticist Chronicles: How Automation in Surgery Is Helping Arc Contribute to the Greater Good

 

Dr. Stefan Kreuzer has seen his fellow surgeons shrug at advancements involving robots in surgery.

If they can drive home without a GPS, why involve robots in a process that already leads to a good outcome?

For Kreuzer, though, getting an assist from automation is like utilizing GPS software to check traffic patterns or suggest the best route home, even if a driver already knows one way to get the job done.

“A good surgeon can have good outcome most of the time, but that’s just not good enough. We need to have a not-so-good surgeon have excellent outcome all the time, and I think that’s where robotics can play a huge role,” Kreuzer said. “Because, currently, there’s a frightening statistic – 70% of all knee replacements are done by surgeons who do 10 or fewer a year. If we can make that surgeon a better surgeon for those 10 operations, and [add] robotics, if we train them properly, just about anybody can incorporate that into their work flow. I think we’ve done a great deal of good for society.”

Seeking the greater good is what excites ARC Specialties President Dan Allford about linking up with Dr. Kreuzer. A patient of Kreuzer’s put the pair in contact after learning of Dr. Kreuzer’s interest in robotics. The Houston residents have been able to work together to consider how to improve current methods of robotic surgery, especially in joint replacement.

That’s resulted in Allford and ARC utilizing collaborative robots and an articulated arm rather than the SCARA arms currently in use.

“This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. In my opinion, there’s no higher calling than medicine, and, as a roboticist, I don’t get to do a lot of medicine,” Allford said. “So, I was eager to learn something more about the industry.”

With influence from Dr. Kruezer, Allford hopes he can combine the best of human minds and robotic work to produce something that truly contributes to society.

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