Evolution of autonomous and semi-autonomous robotic surgical systems: a review of the literature

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Abstract

Background

Autonomous control of surgical robotic platforms may offer enhancements such as higher precision, intelligent manoeuvres, tissue-damage avoidance, etc. Autonomous robotic systems in surgery are largely at the experimental level. However, they have also reached clinical application.

Methods

A literature review pertaining to commercial medical systems which incorporate autonomous and semi-autonomous features, as well as experimental work involving automation of various surgical procedures, is presented. Results are drawn from major databases, excluding papers not experimentally implemented on real robots.

Results

Our search yielded several experimental and clinical applications, describing progress in autonomous surgical manoeuvres, ultrasound guidance, optical coherence tomography guidance, cochlear implantation, motion compensation, orthopaedic, neurological and radiosurgery robots.

Conclusion

Autonomous and semi-autonomous systems are beginning to emerge in various interventions, automating important steps of the operation. These systems are expected to become standard modality and revolutionize the face of surgery. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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