You must have seen it on TV, the entire process of a robot performing surgical operations was broadcast live to many relevant officials and professionals who gathered at Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital (http://www.cnuhh.com), in late November. 'Live surgery' is a term which refers to operations for open viewing and this particular one required a lot of confidence from the surgeon in the operating room. Song Eun-kyoo (firstname.lastname@example.org), General Director of Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital, performed a 'live surgery' at the Hwasun Hospital on November 26th.
Dr. Song was assisted by the nearthrosis operating robot, Robodoc, as he successfully performed an operation on a 77-year-old patient who was suffering from degenerative arthritis. The first and only nearthrosis operating robot, Robodoc displayed an impeccable performance with an improved user-friendly system which led to a massive applause offered by doctors present at the surgical demonstration from Korea and various other countries.
"Good afternoon, everyone," said Dr. Song, entering the operating room, "This is a 77 year old female who has been complaining of right knee pain for one year," before he began the surgery, with his usual confidence, he explained to the audience that he will use a "preoperative planning system based on the laxity prediction technique" for the operation whose net results will be 5mm.
While performing a minimally invasive surgery (MIS), which allows for a far smaller cut to the skin than typical surgery, Dr. Song could reduce the operation time by treating the patient by using the robot. By doing so, he demonstrated to the world how precise and accurate the operation can be with Robodoc.
In the front line of such inspiring live surgery, Dr. Song is a renowned knee joint specialist who was selected for a medical documentary program that aired on EBS TV in August. He is also noted as the top robot-assisted nearthrosis surgeon in Korea. Moreover, he was appointed the 2012 President of the International Society for Computer Assisted Orthopedic Surgery (CAOS International), and has written more papers in the field than anyone else in Korea. Currently, there are only three surgery robots worldwide that are approved by the U.S. FDA and subsequently made for commercial purpose, and it was Dr. Song who consulted with the FDA for approval of Robodoc.
Korea IT Times conducted an exclusive interview with Dr. Song after the live surgery performance.
Q: How do you feel right now, after performing live surgery with the nearthrosis surgery robot, Robodoc
A: I am glad that the surgery was successful and I would like to thank everyone for their support. Also, I would like to add that the improved technology of Robodoc made it easier.
Q: Tell us about how you predict the likely impact of commercial distribution of Robodoc on society as a whole.
A: As you see, Robodoc is different from manual surgical operations. We reconstruct the patient's status using 3D imaging before the operation, which allows for a more accurate and precise surgery, as it consequently reduces error rates and illustrates a better prognosis. Additionally, the public perception of the surgical method and means improved relative to two years ago. Although the pace of distribution is slow due to its massive size and expensive cost, I believe this technology will help to build a more ideal medical environment in terms of time and safety, as more hospitals start adopting Robodoc.
Q: Could you share with us where you utilize computer surgery at Chonnam University Hospital
A: Currently, Chonnam University Hospital uses navigation and Robodoc for nearthrosis surgery and MIS. Just like those used in a car, surgical navigation also helps to find the right path for a more precise and accurate operation. In addition, all features of Robodc are automatic, for instance, as it cuts the bone on its own, making it applicable to different areas.
Q: As the 2012 president of CAOS International, what plans do you have for the improvement of surgical operations
A: I am planning to promote the advantage and effects of computer surgery in order to improve orthopedics in general. Such efforts will also contribute to Korean orthopedics, I believe. During my one-year tenure in 2012, I will do my best to improve the image of Korean orthopedics.
Robodoc was another hero of this successful operation. Developed 18 years ago through collaborative efforts of IBM and the University of California, Davis, in the U.S., Robodoc is the first and only nearthrosis surgery robot around. Its first successful nearthrosis surgery on a real person left a huge mark in the history of medicine. Currently, the number of nearthrosis surgeries performed by Robodoc is estimated to be 7,000 in Korea and 27,000 worldwide.
Robodoc's system consists of a workstation called Orthdoc, and Robodoc which has a robotic arm. Orthdoc reconstructs a CT image in 3D as it plans the operation, then proceeds with a simulated operation, based on which Robodoc later cuts the bone with great precision. A re-operation rate of less than one percent makes evident the precision and accuracy of the robot.
Among the only three commercial surgical robots approved by the FDA, Robodoc is owned by a Korean company, Curexo (http://www.curexo.com/), and is the only nearthrosis surgery robot in the world.
This was the second open nearthrosis surgery assisted by the robot; the first was also held at Chonnam University Hospital in 2008 when Dr. Song introduced the robot surgery along with conventional manual operation. At the moment, Robodoc is taking part in the robot application division of Ministry of Knowledge Economy's Smart Project, the government's effort to produce Korean-made robots.
The live surgery performed by Dr. Song and Robodoc this time bared huge significance, particularly when the government announced their determination to promote the development of the Korean robot industry for the global market. In particular, Robodoc, which has 24 patents under its belt, is expected to take lead in such a move, and Dr. Song Eun Kyoo, 2012 President of CAOS International will also play a vital role in the development of Korean and global orthopedics as well as computer and robot-assisted surgical operations.