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cmcewen t1_j955luf wrote

I’m a surgeon.

Surgical specialities aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s too complex and nuanced. There are certain subspecialties that could Have issues in the future, like bariatrics. I expect medication to eventually take that over. Or maybe specialities that are only cancer, medications may ultimately be able to treat all cancer but we are really far from that. Cardiac surgery is moving more and more to minimally invasive cardiology interventions.

Of course it’s difficult to predict the future of medicine.

I say surgical over medical because if AI is gonna take over something first, it’ll be medical decision making. Taking over physical actions of a surgeon is much more difficult. Before y’all come at me, I’m not saying it’s more difficult to be a surgeon, I’m saying the computer has to take on the ability to visualize (we often do stuff blindly just by feel) and make precise movements that are required in surgery which are not in the more decision making medical specialities.

There is no concern of mine at all of mid-levels creeping into taking over surgical specialities. It’s far too difficult. Our current problem is that surgeons aren’t being adequately trained even after 5 years of residency


scipio0421 t1_j95e3vs wrote

I was going to suggest neurosurgery. It seems like one of those fields you'll always want a human in the mix.


cmcewen t1_j95g12z wrote

I guess I don’t see any inherent difference between neuro or any other surgical specialty. In fact if machines were gonna take over something, it would be procedures on very fixed structures like the spine or brain. In comparison to bowel, let’s say. Could a robot which knows exactly the coordinates in your brain to remove a tumor because it can read the CT scan do a better job than a human can? Maybe I don’t know,

Could a computer read an MRI and more accurately place screws into the spine? I don’t know.

What’ll happen probably is a surgeon will virtually always be there, and a computer will assist on certain components, I would guess.


Laylasita t1_j95utf1 wrote

Thank you for showing me how AI is up and coming for the medical industry.


jazzageguy t1_j9d0god wrote

Aren't surgeons lately using robotic tools in the course of their work? Not to replace them, obviously, but as tools esp in, e.g., laparoscopic procedures? Is there a logical progression whereby robots do more functions, and is there some stopping point that prevents them from becoming autonomous?


cmcewen t1_j9dacjg wrote

I do robotic surgery.

As it stands, the robot does not make any decisions or do anything at all. It purely does the movement we do with our hands. Sort of like a controller to a video game. That’s all it is.

So for it to make decisions is a massive step. But who knows! Maybe some day!


jazzageguy t1_j9dbqop wrote

Well yeah, that's why I said "tools" currently. But is there no slippery slope apparent, whereby it assumes more and more functions, e.g., opening, closing, handing you instruments, etc?

Everything you do is predicated on a base of knowledge and experience, right? Is it inconceivable that some and eventually all of that knowledge and experience could reside in an AI database, with the obvious advantages of being continuously updated, and available to practitioners outside the developed-world mainstream of medical information?

With both lower- and higher-level functions increasingly automated.... well, the logical conclusion suggests itself.


cmcewen t1_j9dcg74 wrote

If I know one thing it would be to never assume we know what is possible in the future.

But I can safely say that AI and robotics is not anywhere close to autonomous surgery right now. But who knows in 30 years where things will be.


jazzageguy t1_j9dcwog wrote

I hope it's not rude to say this to a surgeon, but in 30 years I very much hope for surgery to be rare, and for most diseases to be prevented and/or treated by genetic manipulation. Future generations will look at surgery as we look at bloodletting.


jazzageguy t1_j9dde7m wrote

By "diseases" I include those of aging, and aging itself. I don't see why cell death should be the norm after we figure out how to keep cells healthy. I think the present human lifespan is a historical accident, limited because in the resource-limited past we had to make room for new generations, and the idea of a finite lifespan has, so to say, outlived its usefulness.


cmcewen t1_j9dft2y wrote

No offense taken. I spend half my day talking people out of surgery

I suspect There will always be surgery. Some problems are simply a mechanical problem that can’t be fixed any other way. How can a hernia be fixed without surgery? It’s a structural issue. How can dead bowel be fixed without removing it?

Surgery will always be a component, but you’re right that it’ll always be changing. And we already do much less surgery on people than we used to and we use minimally invasive techniques.


jazzageguy t1_j9dgina wrote

I didn't say NO surgery. Do we really do less than before? I hadn't known that.