American Consequences - September 2018

When I was in my graduate medical program in Oregon, I got to experience the da Vinci robot firsthand. The surgical robot that I used had been on campus only a week. A good friend oversaw the training room for the new da Vinci System. She asked if I wanted to try it out and I answered before she finished the question... Yes! The training room had three robotic surgical systems, which were the same as those used in an operating room. Each system held training exercises that surgeons could work through to get used to using a robot for their surgeries. The training exercises were medical video games. They simulated and timed surgical procedures that ranged in difficulty. For example, one exercise tested how well you could place sutures. Another timed how fast you could stop a leaking artery. The beauty was that you could try these exercises as often as you wanted. The repetition in exercises allowed you to improve techniques, without the risk of hurting a real patient. As I pushed the needle into the simulated skin, I felt resistance, as if I were pushing a needle through real skin. The exercise did a remarkable job at recreating the sewing of a wound site. And it was all the way down to “feeling” the surface that you push the needle through. Last year, there were about 50 million surgeries in America. The overwhelming majority of those were open surgeries. Robotic surgery is just getting started...

And these are just the differences while under the knife. After surgery, patients can end up with an infection at the wound site. About one in 24 patients in the U.S. suffers from a postoperative surgical-site infections (SSIs). Patients with SSIs are twice as likely to die and 60% as likely to visit the intensive care unit. And as we said above, the robotic surgery leaves smaller and less complicated wounds. And that means the chances of infection are much lower. Robotic surgery trumps open surgery. And for almost 20 years, the da Vinci System – made by California-based Intuitive Surgical – has dominated the robotic-surgery market. If you’re wary of a robot working on you in the operating room, think again. Intuitive produced a stunning video showing how delicate its machines are. It’s about a minute and a half long and you can see it here. Christian Olsen focuses on the most important innovative and disruptive technologies around the world today as the editor of the Stansberry Innovations Report. He finds companies operating within these trends that provide investors a safe way to invest, yet offer large upside potential. Christian has expertise in quantum computing, satellite technology, biotech software, genetic sequencing, cancer research, and infectious disease research.

The repetition

in exercises allowed you to improve techniques, without the risk of hurting a real patient.

46 September 2018

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