For the first time in medicine, a robot has functioned independently to assist surgeons and nurses during a surgical procedure. During an operation to remove a benign tumor from a patient's forearm, a robot handed and retrieved surgical instruments, handed them to a surgeon, and returned them to their proper place, correctly completing 37 maneuvers. Although robots have been used to assist with surgery before, this is the first time one has acted independently in response to commands from a surgeon. The procedure, which lasted about 32 minutes, took place at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Allen Pavilion, New York, N.Y.
Developed by Robotic Surgical Tech, Inc., the robot is easily transferred from room to room on a mobile stand and is designed to accept updated software. Learn more about the robot, called the Penelope Surgical Instrument Server, at http://www.roboticsurgicaltech.com