Quirks & Quarks

Robot surgeon does suturing better than humans

An autonomous robot surgical assistant can suture soft tissue at least as well as human surgeons

Autonomous robot can sew soft tissue with accuracy and precision

the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) (Children's National Health System)
A robotic surgical assistant might be in the future as Canadian pediatric surgeon Dr. Peter Kim and his colleagues have demonstrated an autonomous system that can do a complex suturing task in soft tissue as well as or better than a skilled surgeon. 

Dr. Kim, the Vice President of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, and Associate Chief of Surgery at Children's National Medical Center Washington DC, and his group "taught" the system using the best practices of human surgeons. 

In a proof of principle on pigs they demonstrated the robot could successfully perform a procedure called an "anastomosis" in which the two ends of a surgically severed intestine are sewed together.  The robot required minimal direct supervision and the outcomes were at least as good as those expected from human surgeons.

Related Links

Paper in Science Translational Medicine
- Children's National Health System release
IEEE Spectrum article
- Scientific American story
- Wired story