KYW Medical Report Sponsored By Independence Blue Cross

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Robotic surgery, once considered experimental and exciting, is becoming commonplace at many local hospitals. The so-called robots assist surgeons in everything from gynecologic surgery to prostate surgery and procedures that involve the head and neck.

Originally, surgical robots were designed to assist in battlefield procedures.

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Some of the advantages are that these procedures often involve several small cuts instead of one large incision. People can heal faster and have less pain and scarring.

During the procedure a surgeon usually sits at a console and controls robotic arms that hold surgical tools. The robotic systems are equipped with three-D cameras that allow for a great view.

There are downsides: surgeons need to learn the new systems and each procedure takes longer.

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But, the biggest issue in a healthcare system strapped for dollars is the expense: the machines cost millions and this means bigger hospital bills for patients.