This month, we explored the biggest news to come out of the medical technology world, with a particular focus on robotic and virtual innovations. While we’re seeing many new devices enter the market, we’re seeing some equally exciting new training methods too. Read on to see what we flagged as this month’s biggest advancements.
New Robots with Big Implications
Scientists in Britain have developed the world’s smallest robot, which could alleviate some of the biggest hurdles robotic surgery faces today, such as cost and versatility. The robot, Versius, can be used to carry out an array of laparoscopic procedures, including hernia repairs, colorectal and prostate operations, and ear, nose and throat surgery, all while mimicking the human arm. In terms of mechanics, the human arm resemblance comes from the robots’ ability to detect resistance to make sure the right amount of force is used while instruments are inside the patient. This allows the robot to have the movement and flexibility of a human arm. The robot will launch next spring, and once surgeons are trained, it should be available for procedures on patients by the end of next year.
In the future, we are predicting single-port robotic surgery to take surgery to a new level. This type of procedure would allow surgeons to reduce incision size, number of incisions and reduce surgery related pain. Robotic platforms, like Intuitive’s da Vinci SP System and Titan Medical’s SPORT Surgical System, have begun to announce pre-clinical feasibility and validation studies to help bring single-port surgical platforms to market.
When Virtual Reality Saves Lives
Virtual reality has already made its way into the medical training field (see our work with simulators), but we’ve seen some exciting progress in 2017 so far. Doctors at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital used Google-like virtual reality glasses to help prepare them in separating conjoined twins, a risky procedure most surgeons don’t often encounter. With use of the VR technology, the surgeons were able to explore a 3-D model of the twins’ hearts, giving them a view they wouldn’t have been able to access prior to the technology. Within minutes of viewing the 3-D model, the surgeons discovered something unexpected and changed their approach. That discovery and modification saved the twins’ lives, and could have set a precedent for future surgeries, even going beyond conjoined twins.
We continue to keep a close pulse on all medical news happening in the healthcare industry. Comment below if you’ve spotted any other innovations you think we should know about, or click on the contact button to set up a time to set up your tour of our bioskills, medical training lab.