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Next generation robotic surgery system performs well in trials


Cambridge Medical Robotics, the private company developing a next-generation robotic system for universal minimal access surgery, revealed its Versius system in December and provided an update on ongoing cadaveric studies.

CMR is presently evaluating the ability of the Versius system to perform upper GI, gynaecological, colorectal and renal surgery in cadaveric trials. The system has already demonstrated the ability to visualise and access all these surgical workspaces and to perform tissue manipulation, suturing, needle driving and electro-surgery.

CMR has now built 20 proprietary robotic arms, built and tested nine different variants of its fully articulated 5mm instruments, and conducted 11 usability studies; to date the Versius system has been used by 32 surgeons.

According to a Medgadget report, each of the arms can be placed around the patient table or hung from above to save space. The surgeon wears a pair of 3D glasses and operates by looking at a monitor instead of peering into a scope common on existing systems. This can help improve ergonomics and allow the surgeon to see and interact easier with clinicians managing the patient and the robot.

The robot is operated using a controller similar to video game joysticks and the system delivers haptic feedback from the instrument to the controller, so the surgeon can feel the anatomy being worked on.

Commenting on the trial, Luke Hares, Technology Director, said: “I am pleased to say the system performance in the October and November cadaveric trials was exactly as expected. This has validated the universal surgical robot concept that CMR has been developing – using numerous robotic arms in a flexible, modular, system to provide the versatility and dexterity necessary to support most laparoscopic procedures.”

Unlike existing robotic surgical systems, the Versius can work with instruments requiring only a 5 mm incision. Typically, the smallest instrument sizes on existing robotic systems is 8 mm, and unlike 5 mm incisions these typically require suturing.

Earlier trials demonstrated some of these advanced capabilities such as the haptic force feedback and the use of fully wristed 5mm instruments. The CMR system showed the ability to perform a wide range of multi-quadrant minimal access procedures including urological, gynaecological, upper GI and colorectal procedures, all with standard port placements making the future transition to robotics as easy as possible for surgeons.”

Mark Slack, Medical Director, said: “In the first round of trials we were able to confirm the ability of the system to perform surgery in the upper abdomen, and for colorectal and pelvic surgery. In the next phase, we have progressed to the study of individual operations to further assess the capability of the system and the performance of the graspers, scissors, electrocautery and needle drivers. I am delighted with the progress made so far. We will continue with a series of studies to further assess and perfect the system while also exploring new operations previously difficult to perform with robotic surgery.”


Date of upload: 11th Jan 2017

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