Robots are now performing heart surgery — at least closed-chest laparoscopic procedures. With a surgeon operating a com-puter console in another room, the movements of the doctor are interpreted by the robot and then scaled down to precise motions. “We’re eliminating surgeons’ unwanted hand tremors,” says Dr. Jai H. Lee, Summa Health System cardiothoracic sur-geon. “We can see three-dimensional images on the computer to accurately assess the depth of the tissues we’re dealing with.”
While there have only been 12 robotic laser heart surgeries in the last 16 months, results have been positive. The proce-dure is slowly building in popularity in the Midwest as a last resort for those patients who are not candidates for stents or bypass surgery and have no other medical options.