The idea of robots performing surgeries seems to be quite fascinating, but it may also be problematic in the view of those who are more acquainted with conventional medical practice. Much of the debate that goes into the issue of utilizing robots in the medical field comes from the uncertainty of how well these robots can take care of the patient as well as the uncertainty about the outcomes of the procedures.
As a believer in robotics, Dr. Maher El Chaar has a lot to say about this discussion. He has spent years in the field of bariatric surgery, both in research and clinical practice, and for him, the use of robotics technology for this type of surgery is very promising, to say the least. He seeks to revolutionize the practice of bariatric surgery by employing new robotic platforms when performing bariatric surgery.
“Robotic surgery is a new and innovative technology that we are currently utilizing to perform bariatric surgery in order to improve patient outcomes and decrease postoperative pain,” said Dr. El Chaar when asked about the use of robotics.
For those who are not familiar with bariatric surgery, bariatric surgery is what is referred to as weight loss surgery. By altering the anatomy of the stomach and the gastrointestinal tract bariatric surgery can lead to profound postoperative weight loss and improvement in diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and diabetes. More recently, bariatric surgery has been referred to as metabolic surgery because of its drastic effect on patients with metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
Dr. Maher El Chaar, author of the book “Dr. E’s Guide to Weight Loss and Surgery…the Weight is Over”, believes that robotic surgery can make bariatric surgery safer and, therefore, more accessible to patients suffering from obesity and diabetes.
Dr. El Chaar currently serves as the fellowship Director of Bariatric Surgery at St Luke’s University Hospital and Health Network. He is an active member of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and serves on multiple committees responsible for the development of practice guidelines for bariatric surgeons.
According to Dr. Maher El Chaar, robotics in bariatric surgery is not the standard of care. However, its adoption is gaining momentum because of the rapid improvement in technology, lower overall cost, and the potential for improving patient outcomes and decreasing postoperative pain. “ Only 7-10% of the overall number of bariatric cases are currently being performed robotically. However, I believe that this number will increase dramatically in the next few years,” said Dr. El Chaar in a recent interview.
In a recent study, Dr. Maher El Chaar and his team of researchers at the Weight Management Center at St Luke’s University Hospital and Health Network found that patients undergoing robotic revisional surgery had a trend toward lower overall adverse events compared to patients undergoing standard laparoscopic approach. According to Dr. El Chaar, those findings are not conclusive and do not constitute level I evidence that robotic surgery is superior to laparoscopic surgery. However, it’s showing a trend toward better outcomes.
Dr. Maher El Chaar is also very active on social media in promoting Robotics and educating surgeons and patients about the benefits of that new technology “ I believe that social media has given surgeons a powerful tool to educate each other and also patients, we are now able to keep the public well informed about recent technological advances,” said Dr. El Chaar.
To learn more about bariatric surgery and robotics or to reach out to Dr. Maher El Chaar, you may visit his profile here.