A dear friend is going to have surgery. She needs a new heart valve, but she is not going to join the Zipper Club with open heart surgery. The docs will simply thread a teensy weensy plastic tube through a blood vessel in her leg right up into her heart, at which point an even teensier weensier knife will cut out the old valve and they will slip a new one into place. Ho hum. All in a day’s work.
Just as in a car factory, robots now play a big role in putting humans together, or back together. In robotic surgery, your body is like a driver-less car. Here, the surgeon is sort of a driver, but he or she is nowhere near your actual body.
This technique is considered “minimally invasive.” Well, it may be minimal, but it’s still invasive. I’ll bet one of these days they’ll just hover a drone over the patient, and the drone will send special yet-to-be-discovered rays into the body that will do the surgery.
The operator controlling today’s robotic arm sits at a console somewhere and stares into a TV screen showing an action video of your body’s insides, which is up on YouTube in living color. He or she wiggles little joysticks and plays video games with your body.
When the operator zaps the evil Cardio Doom Master, it’s a shame you can’t see the happy smile under his or her mask. As he hollers, “Whoo hoo! Got ’em!” everyone in the room snaps to attention and concentrates on looking at the teensy little knife. The game is over when the surgeon shouts, “Cut!”
This technology is so advanced that the surgeon can send color pictures of your body and get instant advice from any expert in the world who is hooked into the system. You’d probably hear someone yelling, “Yo, guys! Help me out here. We gotta get this! I’m one down against Sheila’s team. They’re playing ‘Go Gallbladder,’ and they’ve already taken out three. We gotta catch up.”
When the games are over and it’s determined who won — no fighting, please; we act like ladies and gentlemen here — and the patients are wheeled away minus a few non-essential body parts, the staff members get up, politely push in their chairs and leave.
Then you will notice that this is really robotic surgery. Every one of them is a highly advanced robot. They have very realistic voices.
And they’re well-mannered bots. They’re gracious losers. They always remember to shake each others’ claws.