Robot performs tricky surgery without human aid

A robot has successfully performed difficult, soft-tissue surgery on four pigs, Johns Hopkins University said, calling this"a significant step toward automated surgery on humans."

The Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot, or STAR, proficiently connected two ends of an intestine, a difficult procedure known as intestinal anastomosis. Soft-tissue surgery is a special challenge for robots because of its unpredictability. If an obstacle arises during a procedure, the robot must quickly adapt. 

"Our findings show that we can automate one of the most intricate and delicate tasks in surgery: the reconnection of two ends of an intestine," said senior author and Johns Hopkins professor Axel Krieger. "The STAR performed the procedure in four animals and it produced significantly better results than humans performing the same procedure." 

"What makes the STAR special is that it is the first robotic system to plan, adapt, and execute a surgical plan in soft tissue with minimal human intervention," said research scientist and first author Hamed Saeidi.