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For the first time in Central America, a so-called robot doctor was used during surgery in a public hospital of the Social Security.
  - Social Security photo -

Published Monday, June 21, 2021

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

For the first time in Central America, a so-called robot doctor was used during surgery in a public hospital of the Social Security.

The video provided by Social Security can be seen  on the AM Costa Rica YouTube channel showing how the robot works with a team during a surgery.

The Robotic Surgical Assistant, ROSA, technology was guiding orthopedic surgeons during knee replacement surgery performed on a 37-year-old man and a 60-year-old woman, both patients of the San Juan de Dios public hospital, located in San Josť Province.

The robot cuts the bone and soft tissues appropriately, allowing the patient to have adequate extension and flexion, explained Francisco Brenes, an orthopedist at San Juan de Dios.

The robot "requests some anatomical points of reference, which allow it to evaluate the soft tissues (ligaments and tendons), then the robot indicates where the cuts should be made, this makes the procedure more precise and less invasive," Brenes said.

The robot uses data collected before and during surgery to inform the surgeon team about anatomical details, to properly adjust the implant to be aligned with the axes of the leg.

The robot technology improves the orientation of the prosthesis during the surgery which can be validated immediately for better results for the patient.

The robot is made up of two towers, one is its arm that guides the surgeons during the cuts, the other is a camera which monitors the sensors placed on the leg bone before making the cuts.

The robot recognizes these sensors showing on the monitors the anatomical image and highlighting the areas where the surgery should be done.
Throughout the process, the robot is monitoring and providing useful information for the surgical team. Even when the prosthesis is placed, the robot validates the placement of that prosthesis.

The knee is a hinge joint made up of the tibia, femur, and kneecap. The knee bones are covered with cartilage, a tough lubricating tissue that helps cushion the bones during movement. In some people and over the years the cartilage and bone are damaged. That can be caused by genetics or due to trauma, the patient feels a lot of pain and even is difficult to walk. To solve this it is necessary to replace the knee with an implant.

In the next few days, a second robot will be installed at the Max Peralta public hospital, in Cargato Province, where it is scheduled to begin assisting knee surgeries in July.

Should Social Security install robot doctors in all public hospitals? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to

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