According to foreign media reports, surgical robots can be used for remote anesthesia. The researchers conducted a series of simulation studies to evaluate the feasibility of surgical robots assisting regional anesthesia procedures. The simulation experiment used the existing surgical robot-DaVinci system. Composed of four robot arms and high-definition stereo cameras, it can be used to perform various types of robot-assisted surgical operations.

This process is not performed on the actual patient, but uses an ultrasound "human model" to simulate the operation of the anesthesiologist under the guidance of ultrasound. The anesthesiologist is in the operating room, but away from the robotic arm and simulating the "patient", using the DaVinci system operator console to perform the operation.

After starting to place the ultrasound probe, the anesthesiologist can successfully simulate the nerve block process, including identifying the nerve structure, picking up the needle and positioning the target nerve, and finally completing the injection. Then, surgical robots are used to try more advanced regional anesthesia: placing peripheral nerve catheters to achieve continuous nerve block. Although some steps must be completed manually, most of the complex catheter placement procedures can be successfully completed by the DaVinci system. In the process of performing simulation operations, there are some important restrictions, including some steps must be completed manually, the multi-million dollar price of the Da Vinci system is another clinical application obstacle. However, "simulation experiments prove that it is feasible to use existing clinical equipment for robot-assisted regional anesthesia," Dr. Tighe and colleagues wrote. Further research is needed to promote the development of this concept, including "optimizing the interface between robots and other nerve block devices" and other related research.

In the future, robotics can be used to perform long-distance "remote anesthesia" operations. "Now there are very few skilled regional anesthesiologists who cannot meet the demand," commented Dr. Steven L. Shafer, Chief Editor of Anesthesia and Pain, Columbia University. "This technology is still in its infancy. If future research shows that it is feasible, a trained anesthetist can provide specialized nerve block to dozens of patients worldwide in one day. Anesthesiologists take care of the needs of patients and need to deal with various complications. Once anesthesia fails, an anesthesia plan is provided. "

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