Will at some point surgeries be fully automated and surgeons and assistant health practitioners be obsolete? Not yet, but there is no doubt about how crucial to modern surgery are these state-of-the-art micromanipulator robots that have changed the way we see medical operations.
A group of surgeons belonging to the Children’s National Medical Centre in Washington D.C. have developed a semi-autonomous surgical robot in order to perform open surgeries. The robot is specialised in sewing soft tissue after surgery.
The robot was tested on pigs and it sew together fragments of bowels. It was supervised to make sure that it would follow some indicative fluorescent markers, but no corrections were needed at the end.
Dr. Peter Kim mentioned that clearly sewing tissue is a process that that machine can do better. Handling soft tissue is considered the most difficult aspect of this type of surgery as there is a greater possibility for the human “shaky” hand to slip. So, removing the shaky human element through this technology can lead to reduced complications of soft tissue surgeries in the future.
While soft tissue surgeries need a high level of precision, there are others that are practically impossible for the human hand.
Bill Beaver, 70, was gradually losing his right eye eyesight until he regained hope thanks to a novel robotic device developed by a team of researchers at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital. Specialised personnel controlled a robotic surgeon via a joystick, to remove a membrane one-hundredth of a millimetre thick situated in the retina of the eye of the patient that was responsible for his sight loss.
The operation took place with the use of a needle that was inserted inside his eye, attached on the robot. This delicate operation could be conducted successfully due to the ability of the robot to filter out the hand tremors of the doctors´ hands. The patient was able to see clearly again after a few days. It is like a “fairy tale” he commented, as he was once again able to enjoy reading and admiring art pieces.
Cyber Surgery is one of the scaleups being accelerated by RobotUnion. They focus on robotic assistants for high-precision operations specialised in spine surgery. The company is formed by a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, patients and engineers that collaborate and explore the limits of knowledge to get the best technological and accurate solutions for their customers.
The scaleup is a spin-off of Egile Corporation XXI. All its members share the same enthusiasm and objective of optimising robotic surgery. Visit their website to explore their project on innovative surgery or get in touch with them if you wish to collaborate.