At Maastricht UMC+, an academic hospital in The Netherlands, the first surgical procedure using a new microrobot has been successfully performed. The physicians used a system from Microsure, a Dutch firm that spun off from Eindhoven University of Technology and Maastricht UMC+, to suture sub-millimeter vessels in the arm of a patient suffering from lymphedema.
The robotic device converts the movement of the surgeon’s hands into precise, but tiny actions of the robot, giving physicians an unprecedented level of dexterity that would be impossible with just bare hands.
During the surgery, lymphatic vessels of between .3 and .8 millimeters in diameter were attached to blood vessels, allowing lymphatic fluid to drain from the area, alleviating painful and dangerous swelling.
While this kind of surgery is not a new idea, and a few surgeons around the world are able to perform it without the help of robotics, it remains incredibly difficult. Even the steadiest of hands still tremble a bit and the amount of focus required of the doctor makes this kind of procedure nearly impossible for most surgeons. The system essentially erases the trembling before transferring the hand movement data to the robot, maintaining a steadiness that only a robot can maintain.
“Microsure enables us to be very precise in our movements during procedures that need a surgical microscope,” said Shan Shan Qiu Shoa, plastic surgeon at Maastricht UMC+. “Their robot allows us to operate on minuscule lymph vessels and blood vessels with more ease, while getting better results for these complex and fatiguing interventions. Besides it is very convenient that, within microsurgery, we can operate on vessels of every size with this robot. Most importantly, of course, this is good news for the patients concerned.”
Here’s a couple videos giving you a look at the Microsure robotic system:
Link: Microsure homepage…
(hat tip: Engadget)