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Robotic surgeries: procedures worth being wary about

There is a line, attributed in some instances to "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry, that goes something like, a lot of science fact wouldn't exist without science fiction. The premise of the statement is that many advances of science first were imagined and written about by dreamers.

There are surely some tools of medicine that are around today that fit that model. X-ray and magnetic resonance imaging technologies that allow us to see inside our bodies come to mind as one example. Another might be the advent of robotic surgeries. "Star Wars" fans in Texas will recall how hero Luke Skywalker received a cybernetic hand and that robots did the surgery. That was back in the 1980 film "The Empire Strikes Back."

In the world of science fact, robotic surgery has only become a reality in the past few years, and many experts remain unconvinced that just because the technology exists, it is necessarily better. Despite a great deal of marketing hype, some researchers say robotic operations for the removal of ovaries and ovarian cysts cost more and have higher rates of complications than the standard methods usually used.

Still, last month, it was reported that autonomous surgical robots are on the horizon.

Advances in technology can be a wonderful thing if they truly do something to make life better for people. But at this point, robotic surgery hardly seems something to get excited about. Too many adverse events are occurring, some ending in patient deaths. Victims should know that if they have suffered injury or the loss of a loved one because of a defective robotic system or inadequate operator training, they have a right to seek to hold any involved parties accountable.

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