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Robotic surgery: will it be evidence-based or just “toys for boys”?

Guy J Maddern
Med J Aust 2007; 186 (5): 221-222.

Surgeons and government must work together to evaluate new surgical technologies

Robot-assisted surgery has been evolving over the past decade, from simple adjustable arms to support cameras in laparoscopic surgery, through to the more sophisticated four-armed machines now being installed in a number of hospitals in Australia.1 The name “robot” is somewhat misleading, as these devices do not perform autonomous tasks, but are under the direct control of a surgeon who usually works from a remote console to insert robot-controlled instruments into a patient. This technology has certainly made a number of surgical procedures, such as total prostatectomy and cardiac anastomosis (coronary artery bypass grafting), somewhat easier to perform; however, the true benefit of these interventions is yet to be clearly demonstrated.2

  • Guy J Maddern

  • Discipline of Surgery, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA.


Competing interests:

I am the Surgical Director and a member of the Management Committee of ASERNIP-S.

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