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Robot-assisted vitreoretinal surgery: current perspectives.

Vitreoretinal microsurgery is among the most technically challenging of the minimally invasive surgical techniques. Exceptional precision is required to operate on micron scale targets presented by the retina while also maneuvering in a tightly constrained and fragile workspace. These challenges are compounded by inherent limitations of the unassisted human hand with regard to dexterity, tremor and precision in positioning instruments. The limited human ability to visually resolve targets on the single-digit micron scale is a further limitation. The inherent attributes of robotic approaches therefore, provide logical, strategic and promising solutions to the numerous challenges associated with retinal microsurgery. Robotic retinal surgery is a rapidly emerging technology that has witnessed an exponential growth in capabilities and applications over the last decade. There is now a worldwide movement toward evaluating robotic systems in an expanding number of clinical applications. Coincident with this expanding application is growth in the number of laboratories committed to "robotic medicine". Recent technological advances in conventional retina surgery have also led to tremendous progress in the surgeon's capabilities, enhanced outcomes, a reduction of patient discomfort, limited hospitalization and improved safety. The emergence of robotic technology into this rapidly advancing domain is expected to further enhance important aspects of the retinal surgery experience for the patients, surgeons and society.

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