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Robot surgeon operates pigs

In a breakthrough for medical surgery, a robot has successfully performed keyhole surgery on pigs without the hand of a human surgeon.

At Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA, the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) performed the soft tissue operation on four pigs - connecting two ends of an intestine - considered some of the most intricate and challenging gastrointestinal surgery.

The standard reached was ‘significantly better than a human surgeon.

While some operations are already automated by robots, these are usually focused on bone or other rigid structures, as softer tissues can move unpredictably, and present huge complications if torn.

"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 first author Hamed Saeidi, of Johns Hopkins' Whiting School of Engineering.

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