Robotic assistants within the working room promise safer surgical procedure


Superior robotics can assist surgeons perform procedures the place there may be little margin for error. © Microsure BV, 2022

In a surgical procedure in India, a robotic scans a affected person’s knee to determine how greatest to hold out a joint alternative. In the meantime, in an working room within the Netherlands, one other robotic is performing extremely difficult microsurgery below the management of a physician utilizing joysticks.

Such situations look set to change into extra widespread. At current, some handbook operations are so tough they are often carried out by solely a small variety of surgeons worldwide, whereas others are invasive and rely upon a surgeon’s particular ability.

Superior robotics are offering instruments which have the potential to allow extra surgeons to hold out such operations and achieve this with the next price of success.

‘We’re getting into the subsequent revolution in drugs,’ stated Sophie Cahen, chief government officer and co-founder of Ganymed Robotics in Paris.

New knees

Cahen leads the EU-funded Ganymed undertaking, which is growing a compact robotic to make joint-replacement operations extra exact, much less invasive and – by extension – safer.

The preliminary focus is on a kind of surgical procedure referred to as whole knee arthroplasty (TKA), although Ganymed is seeking to develop to different joints together with the shoulder, ankle and hip.

Ageing populations and way of life adjustments are accelerating demand for such surgical procedure, in response to Cahen. Curiosity in Ganymed’s robotic has been expressed in lots of quarters, together with distributors in rising economies comparable to India.

‘Demand is super-high as a result of arthroplasty is pushed by the age and weight of sufferers, which is growing everywhere in the world,’ Cahen stated.

Arm with eyes

Ganymed’s robotic will goal to carry out two foremost capabilities: contactless localisation of bones and collaboration with surgeons to help joint-replacement procedures.

It includes an arm mounted with ‘eyes’, which use superior computer-vision-driven intelligence to look at the precise place and orientation of a affected person’s anatomical construction. This avoids the necessity to insert invasive rods and optical trackers into the physique.

“We’re getting into the subsequent revolution in drugs.”

– Sophie Cahen, Ganymed

Surgeons can then carry out operations utilizing instruments comparable to sagittal saws – used for orthopaedic procedures – in collaboration with the robotic arm.

The ‘eyes’ support precision by offering so-called haptic suggestions, which prevents the motion of devices past predefined digital boundaries. The robotic additionally collects information that it might course of in actual time and use to hone procedures additional.

Ganymed has already carried out a scientific examine on 100 sufferers of the bone-localisation expertise and Cahen stated it achieved the specified precision.

‘We have been extraordinarily happy with the outcomes – they exceeded our expectations,’ she stated.

Now the agency is performing research on the TKA process, with hopes that the robotic shall be totally accessible commercially by the tip of 2025 and change into a mainstream device used globally.

‘We wish to make it reasonably priced and accessible, in order to democratise entry to high quality care and surgical procedure,’ stated Cahen.

Microscopic issues

Robots are being explored not just for orthopaedics but in addition for extremely advanced surgical procedure on the microscopic stage.

The EU-funded MEETMUSA undertaking has been additional growing what it describes because the world’s first surgical robotic for microsurgery licensed below the EU’s ‘CE’ regulatory regime.

Referred to as MUSA, the small, light-weight robotic is connected to a platform geared up with arms capable of maintain and manipulate microsurgical devices with a excessive diploma of precision. The platform is suspended above the affected person throughout an operation and is managed by the surgeon via specifically tailored joysticks.

In a 2020 examine, surgeons reported utilizing MUSA to deal with breast-cancer-related lymphedema – a power situation that generally happens as a aspect impact of most cancers remedy and is characterised by a swelling of physique tissues on account of a build-up of fluids.

MUSA’s robotic arms. Microsure BV, 2022

To hold out the surgical procedure, the robotic efficiently sutured – or related – tiny lymph vessels measuring 0.3 to 0.8 millimetre in diameter to close by veins within the affected space.

‘Lymphatic vessels are beneath 1 mm in diameter, so it requires numerous ability to do that,’ stated Tom Konert, who leads MEETMUSA and is a scientific discipline specialist at robot-assisted medical expertise firm Microsure in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. ‘However with robots, you’ll be able to extra simply do it. Up to now, with regard to the scientific outcomes, we see very nice outcomes.’

Regular fingers

When such delicate operations are carried out manually, they’re affected by slight shaking within the fingers, even with extremely expert surgeons, in response to Konert. With the robotic, this drawback might be averted.

MUSA also can considerably scale down the surgeon’s common hand actions slightly than merely repeating them one-to-one, permitting for even higher accuracy than with typical surgical procedure.

‘When a sign is created with the joystick, we now have an algorithm that may filter out the tremor,’ stated Konert. ‘It downscales the motion as effectively. This may be by a factor-10 or 20 distinction and provides the surgeon numerous precision.’

Along with treating lymphedema, the present model of MUSA – the second, after a earlier prototype – has been used for different procedures together with nerve restore and soft-tissue reconstruction of the decrease leg.

Subsequent technology

Microsure is now growing a 3rd model of the robotic, MUSA-3, which Konert expects to change into the primary one accessible on a widespread business foundation.

“When a sign is created with the joystick, we now have an algorithm that may filter out the tremor.”

– Tom Konert, MEETMUSA

This new model may have varied upgrades, comparable to higher sensors to boost precision and improved manoeuvrability of the robotic’s arms. It is going to even be mounted on a cart with wheels slightly than a hard and fast desk to allow simple transport inside and between working theatres.

Moreover, the robots shall be used with exoscopes – a novel high-definition digital digital camera system. It will permit the surgeon to view a three-dimensional display via goggles to be able to carry out ‘heads-up microsurgery’ slightly than the less-comfortable means of wanting via a microscope.

Konert is assured that MUSA-3 shall be extensively used throughout Europe and the US earlier than a 2029 goal date.

‘We’re presently finalising product improvement and making ready for scientific trials of MUSA-3,’ he stated. ‘These research will begin in 2024, with approvals and begin of commercialisation scheduled for 2025 to 2026.’

MEETMUSA can also be wanting into the potential of synthetic intelligence (AI) to additional improve robots. Nonetheless, Konert believes that the goal of AI options could also be to information surgeons in direction of their objectives and help them in excelling slightly than reaching fully autonomous surgical procedure.

‘I feel the surgeon will all the time be there within the suggestions loop, however these instruments will certainly assist the surgeon carry out on the highest stage sooner or later,’ he stated.


Analysis on this article was funded through the EU’s European Innovation Council (EIC).

This text was initially revealed in Horizon, the EU Analysis and Innovation journal.




Horizon Journal
brings you the most recent information and options about thought-provoking science and revolutionary analysis tasks funded by the EU.

Horizon Journal
brings you the most recent information and options about thought-provoking science and revolutionary analysis tasks funded by the EU.

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