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Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics

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ESEP 21:25-30 (2021)  -  DOI:

Neurosurgical robots and ethical challenges to medicine

Arthur Saniotis1,2,*, Maciej Henneberg2,3

1Department of Anthropology, Ludwik Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Rudolfa Weigla 12, 53-114 Wrocław, Poland
2Biological and Comparative Anatomy Research Unit, Adelaide Medical School, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia
3Institute of Evolutionary Medicine, The University of Zürich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Over the last 20 yr, neurosurgical robots have been increasingly assisting in neurosurgical procedures. Surgical robots are considered to have noticeable advantages over humans, such as reduction of procedure time, surgical dexterity, no experience of fatigue and improved healthcare outcomes. In recent years, neurosurgical robots have been developed to perform various procedures. Public demand is informing the direction of neurosurgery and placing greater pressure on neurosurgeons to use neurosurgical robots. The increasing diversity and sophistication of neurosurgical robots have received ethical scrutiny due to the surgical complications that may arise as well as the role of robots in the future. In this paper, we address 3 ethical areas regarding neurosurgical robots: (1) Loss of neurosurgical skills due to increasing dependency on robots; (2) How far do we want to go with neurosurgical robots? (3) Neurosurgical robots and conflict of interest and medical bias.

KEY WORDS: Neurosurgical robot systems · Neurosurgical skills · Moral agency · Anatomical variation · Medical bias · Bioethics

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Cite this article as: Saniotis A, Henneberg M (2021) Neurosurgical robots and ethical challenges to medicine. Ethics Sci Environ Polit 21:25-30.

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