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“Keyhole” Surgery Leads to Surgical Injuries

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Minimally invasive surgical methods, or keyhole surgeries, are the preferred ones when confronted with the need for a procedure, mostly because healing times are faster and there is a lower risk of excessive blood loss. Laparoscopy, which uses cameras inserted into small incisions in the abdomen, was one of the earliest and most popular of these methods, and it is still being used today.

A relatively recent entrant in the field which has grabbed a substantial share in the market since its introduction 13 years ago is the da Vinci Surgical System, which is a robot-assisted surgical method. Recent events, however, has served to somewhat tarnish the reputation of the metallic automaton in the field of surgical instruments.

At least 70 deaths have been directly linked to the use of the da Vinci robot, landing its manufacturer Intuitive Surgical Inc. in legal hot water and affecting its standing in the market. More adverse events have been reported, and some studies say underreported with the machine’s use, prompting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to launch an investigation to determine the extent to which the da Vinci robot may be said to have directly caused unnecessary surgical injuries. And now, Intuitive itself has issued a statement regarding defects in certain components of the system which may inadvertently cause even more damage to the patients.

Intuitive sent Urgent Medical Device Notification in May 2013 to those who purchased the da Vinci system regarding potential problems with the Monopolar Curved Scissors (MCS), commonly called the Hot Shears. Micro-cracks along the shaft that developed when the shears were reprocessed, maintenance performed on all instruments periodically after a certain number of procedures done. These micro-cracks may allow electric current to “arc” from the instrument to living tissue, possibly causing burns and tissue damage. Less than a year ago, the tips of the scissors had been recalled, but Intuitive does not confirm that these defects caused injury to any patient.

The initiatives were classified as part of the company’s efforts to improve the products, and had nothing to do with the surgical injury lawsuits already filed against it. Taken one by one, these adverse events may be said to be part and parcel of the risks associated with surgery, but taken together, they represent a serious problem with the technology.

One Response to ““Keyhole” Surgery Leads to Surgical Injuries”

  1. I shared this with my friends.

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