Amid growing concern that robots will take over the workforce comes good news — at least for doctors — suggesting that surgery conducted by either a surgical robot or an actual doctor had nearly identical outcomes, according to research from the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia.

To make this determination, a team of scientists examined the long-term outcomes of prostate cancer surgery on patients where in some cases surgical robots were used and others where the operation was conducted by a human surgeon.

For 24 months, the team looked at data concerning recovery after prostate cancer surgery — called prostatectomy — and found that despite allowing for greater precision and ergonomics for doctors, surgical procedures conducted by or with the aid of a surgical robot did not change the outcome of prostate cancer surgery.

As such, the team of scientists concluded that because the outcomes of both types of surgery were excellent, patients shouldn’t necessarily opt for surgeries based on the equipment used but instead on the skill of the actual surgeon.

“Patients should go to a surgeon who is good at what they are doing rather than choosing a surgeon based on the surgical option they are offering,” said UQ Centre for Clinical Research urologist Emeritus Professor Robert (‘Frank’) Gardiner.

Still, more and more surgeons are opting to use such technology to aid in surgeries of all kinds in particular because they may ease the job of the surgeon as well as shorten the recovery time for patients undergoing particularly complex surgeries.

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