A number of new robotic systems for surgery have appeared in recent years. These developments aim both at research and improvement of clinical practice in robotic surgery.
Robotic surgery is currently dominated by the daVinci system. It is primarily used for prostatectomy and gynaecological procedures. Other possible, however, less used applications, include cardiothoracic, colorectal, other general and head & neck surgery.
The Amadeus system, developed by a Canadian company, is expected to become the main competitor to the main player in the field, the daVinci robotic system. Their aim is to provide single and multiport robot to meet needs of variety of surgical procedures. Amadeus is a four arm platform with articulating joints and haptic feedback. It also uses infrared and ultrasound imaging to improve visualisation in 3D. Currently research is undergone to optimise the platform and prepare for market launch. It is expected to launch in the next a few years.
The Raven II is another surgical platform in development. It is a prototype open source system developed by a multicentre collaboration in the US. The Raven II is a telerobotic system composed of two arms, camera and a control station. Seven copies of the hardware will be placed in seven different academic institutions around the US in order to facilitate multicentre research and development. Raven is one of the first robotic systems developed by academia. With its unique open source model we can expect rapid developments of this platform in near future.
First applications and enhancements to the Raven II system are already emerging. A research group from Harvard is working on applications of the robot for cardiac surgery. They plan to equip it with 3D ultrasound imaging which could improve visualisation and accuracy of the procedure performance. It could also account for the heart beat motion, giving operator perception of a static picture while operating on a beating heart.
One of the aims of Raven initiative is to incorporate learning software into the robotic platform. The robot analyses trajectories of particular sub tasks, such as knot tying, performed by experts. Following that the pathway is smoothed out the movements are repeated by the robot with increased smoothness and gradual increase of speed.
The Magellan robotic system is different from the other robots. It uses a flexible robotic catheter technology instead of straight trocars. At present it is being researched and used for cardiac ablations and also for endovascular surgery procedures.
Mentioned systems are merely examples of what is happening in the field. There are a large number of projects developing robotic platforms. DLR MiroSurge and Arkanes project are two initiatives to develop micro-robots for variety of surgical and endoscopic applications. There are also a number of navigation robotic systems such as Acrobot Navigator in orthopaedics and Mazor system for spine and cranial surgery.
With recent rapid developments in the field of surgical robotics we can expect interesting solutions and platforms to emerge. Some of those may in the future translate into wider use of robotic technology which could benefit patients by improving clinical outcomes, quality of life post – op and limit complications rate.
Author: Radoslaw A Rippel
Conflict of interest: none
Would you like to know more? Watch on MEDtube.net: Da Vinci Robotic Surgery