With increasingly intelligent artificial intelligence (AI), even high level surgeons might soon be finding themselves replaced by robots as AI exceeds human abilities.
The robot surgery market has been booming globally, despite a lag in the number of surgeons qualified to operate devices like the Da Vinci Surgical System.
However, AI might eliminate this problem altogether as it means there will be no need to train new surgeons at all.
From 2018-2025, the robot surgery industry is expected to see growth of 18 percent, exceeding $1.bn by 2020.
Educating surgeons in operating robotic surgical devices is costly, involving deep anatomical knowledge, cultivating experience with patients, and long periods of practice with the robotic devices.
Recent studies have brought to light how ill equipped hospitals are for training new robotic surgeons.
Expert surgeons are reluctant to allow trainees experience with the robots and hospitals are investing less in simulator software that provides young surgeons the opportunity to practice.
In recent years, purchases of skill simulator software has fallen 20 percent.
Although independent robotic surgery is still in development, technology is improving so quickly it may overtake an already lagging need for human surgeons.