SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Robotic surgery is increasingly being used for women's hysterectomies, adding at least $2,000 to the cost without offering much benefit over less high-tech methods, a study found.
The technique was used in just 0.5 percent of operations studied in 2007, but that soared to almost 10 percent by early 2010. Columbia University researchers analyzed data on more than 260,000 women who had their wombs removed at 441 U.S. hospitals for reasons other than cancer. The database covered surgeries performed through the first few months of 2010.
Women who had the robotic operations were slightly less likely to spend more than two days in the hospital, but hospital stays were shorter than that for most women. Also, complications were equally rare among robotic surgery patients and those who had more conventional surgeries. Average costs for robotic hysterectomies totaled nearly $9,000, versus about $3,000 for the least expensive method, a different type of minimally invasive technique using more conventional surgery methods.
Traditionally hysterectomies were done by removing the womb through a large abdominal incision. Newer methods include removing the uterus through the vagina and minimally invasive "keyhole" abdominal operations using more conventional surgery methods, or surgeon-controlled robotic devices.
Robotic operations involve computer-controlled long, thin robot-like "arms" equipped with tiny surgery instruments. Surgeons operate the computer and can see inside the body on the computer screen, through a tiny camera attached to the robotic arms. The initial idea was for surgeons to do these operations miles away from the operating room, but robotic operations now are mostly done with the surgeon in the same room as the patient.
Theoretically, robotic surgeries make it easier to maneuver inside the patient, and are increasingly used for many types of operations, not just hysterectomies.
The main explanation for the big increase "is that robotic surgery has been marketed extensively to not only hospitals and physicians, but also directly to patients. There is minimal data in gynecology that it is advantageous," said Dr. Jason Wright, an assistant professor of women's health and the study's lead author.
The study was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"Our findings highlight the importance of developing rational strategies to implement new surgical technologies," the researchers wrote.
They note that 1 in 9 U.S. women will undergo a hysterectomy, usually after the age of 40. Reasons include fibroids and other non-cancerous growths, abnormal bleeding, and cancer.
Traditional abdominal operations remain common and more than 40 percent of women studied had them, costing on average about $6,600.
A JAMA editorial says the study doesn't answer whether the robotic method might be better for certain women, and says more research comparing methods is needed. Still, it says doctors and hospitals have a duty to inform patients about costs of different surgery options.
Dr. Myriam Curet of manufacturer Intuitive Surgical of Sunnyvale, Calif., said surgical robots can help surgeons overcome the limitations of other minimally invasive methods for very overweight patients, those with scarring from other surgeries and other complexities.-www.shfaqna.com/English
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/02/20/costlier-robotic-surgery-on-rise-for-hysterectomies/#ixzz2LVnT8SAR
Source: Fox News
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - The US Pentagon has begun a contest to advance its efforts to develop robotic soldiers to fight the wars of the future.
The DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC), which kicked off at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) conference center in Arlington, Virginia on Wednesday, focuses on testing robots' abilities to work in difficult situations designed for humans that “simulate conditions in a dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environment.”
US officials and the designers of the robots say they are only being built to provide emergency services during disasters and have made no comments on any possible military applications.
The DRC has four tracks, with teams participating in tracks B and C competing for access to a modified version of the Atlas robot for use in live disaster-response challenge events in 2013 and 2014.
One of the robots, called Pet-Proto, a predecessor of DARPA's Atlas robot, can maneuver over and around obstacles, using “capabilities, including autonomous decision-making, dismounted mobility and dexterity.”
DARPA project leader Gill Pratt says the DRC is "about trying to use robots to improve the resiliency of the US and world to natural and man-made disasters."
According to DARPA's $2.8 billion budget for 2013, the US military's research arm intends to invest $7 million in a project to create robotic partners for its soldiers.
The project, called the Avatar Project, was devised to "develop interfaces and algorithms to enable a soldier to effectively partner with a semi-autonomous bi-pedal machine and allow it to act as the solder's surrogate," DARPA announced.
Earlier this year, DARPA released a video of the robodog, which is capable of hauling a soldier's gear and following the soldier using its “eyes” -- which are actually sensors that can distinguish between trees, rocks, terrain obstacles, and people.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Sandia National Laboratories has developed a cost-effective modular robotic hand that can be used in disarming improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Sandia partnered with researchers at Stanford University to develop the hardware. The operator controls the robot with a glove. The Sandia Hand is modular, so different types of fingers can be attached with magnets and quickly plugged into the hand frame. The operator can easily attach additional fingers or other tools, such as flashlights, screwdrivers or cameras. The fingers of the robotic hand are designed to fall off should the operator accidentally run the hand into a wall or another object.
Principal investigator Curt Salisbury says, "Rather than breaking the hand, this configuration allows the user to recover very quickly, and fingers can easily be put back in their sockets. In addition, if a finger pops off, the robot can actually pick it up with the remaining fingers, move into position and resocket the finger by itself." —www.shafaqna.com/english
Source: Science Space Robot