With the increasing innovation within the Robotic Surgery space, we took a look at how these changes are influencing the laparoscopic, or minimally invasive surgery instrumentation industry.
Our Chief Technology Officer, Roger Smith, PhD, had the chance to test out the FlexDex surgical instrument, which combines the dexterity of robotic surgery with a laparoscopic surgical device. Dr. Smith’s extensive research in robotic surgery has provided him insights on many potential implications for the FlexDex instrument, and how it may play a valuable role in the future of minimally invasive surgery technologies.
Advantages of the FlexDex
- Low Cost: A typical da Vinci Surgical System is expected to cost upwards of $1.9 million. Since there is no capital equipment purchase for a robotic system, the FlexDex provides some of the advantages without a big upfront investment.
- Flexibility & Dexterity: The FlexDex combines robotic-like, endo-wrist manipulation with laparoscopic instrumentation, allowing the surgeon the seven degrees of freedom that was originally available only with robotic assistance. The FlexDex achieves this by anchoring the device to the surgeon’s lower forearm, freeing the wrist to transfer movement to the instrument tip.
Future uses of the FlexDex
- Variety of instrument tips: Currently the device is exclusively provided as a needle driver. Dr. Smith predicts, in the future they will create version with scissors and energy tools.
- Empowering the Surgical Assistant: By allowing a surgical assistant to use the FlexDex, they would be able to introduce sutures or grasp debris from being taken out of the body in a more flexible way.
- Reusable: The current device is entirely disposable. In the future, Dr. Smith predicts that the device will be reusable with the parts being able to go through a sterilizer.
What are your thoughts on this instrument? Will it solve your need for flexibility in minimally invasive surgery? Let us know in the comments below. For our feedback on other new devices, and instruments coming to market, from our Chief Technology Officer’s point of view, be sure to follow our blog!
*Disclaimer:These predications and commentary are Roger Smith’s personal opinion with no association or connection to the FlexDex company.