Posted on behalf of the Royal College of Surgeons
The Royal College of Surgeons has just launched an independent Commission to explore the future of surgical care.
The purpose of the Commission on the Future of Surgery will be to set out a compelling and credible vision of the future advances in medicine and technology, and how those developments will affect the delivery of surgical care.
In the last 50 years, new findings and innovations have transformed surgery and the way clinical care is delivered. Innovations that were unthinkable only a few decades or years ago are now common practice.
To reduce surgical trauma on the patient, surgery has moved towards ever less invasive interventions, with fewer but more precise cuts and incisions. Surgery is thus shifting from traditionally seeing, feeling and manipulating organs and tissues through the surgeon’s own eyes and hands, to using an intelligent robotic medium to see and intervene inside the body.
Developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning suggest a future where surgeons and machines will operate in closer synergy, one making up for the weaknesses of the other. Discoveries in genetics point the way towards preventive strategies and patient-targeted therapeutic interventions, with fundamental consequences for surgical decision making and the way we treat patients. Advances in regenerative medicine lay the path towards a future where organs and tissues grown in the laboratory or built with three-dimensional printing could answer problems such as the shortage of organs or life dependency on immunosuppressive drugs.
The Commission aims to explore and identify the innovations that will most likely impact surgical treatment.
Minimally invasive surgery, robot-assisted surgery, nanotechnology, radiology and imaging, artificial intelligence, genetics, oncology, 3D printing and planning, regenerative medicine, pharmacology, and anaesthesia will all be considered.
Thirteen Commissioners from different areas of expertise will advise on the areas of change predicted and will analyse the evidence the Commission will receive.
The Commission on the Future of Surgery is currently seeking contributions from researchers, experts, innovators and future gazers. The call for contributions will be open until 18 February 2018 and details on how to apply can be found on our website. If your work is relevant to the scope of the enquiry, Commissioners want to hear from you.
The Commission members