Surgeons and scientists from Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Health System are the first to demonstrate that supervised, autonomous robotic soft tissue surgery on a live subject (in vivo) in an open surgical setting is feasible and outperforms standard clinical techniques in a dynamic clinical environment.
The study, published today in Science Translational Medicine, reports the results of soft tissue surgeries conducted on both inanimate porcine tissue and living pigs using proprietary robotic surgical technology, Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR), developed at Children’s National. This technology removes the surgeon’s hands from the procedure, instead utilizing the surgeon as supervisor, with soft tissue suturing autonomously planned and performed by the STAR robotic system.
Soft tissues are the tissues that connect, support or surround other structures and organs of the body such as tendons, ligaments, fascia, skin, fibrous tissues, fat, synovial membranes, muscles, nerves and blood vessels. Currently more than 44.5 million soft tissue surgeries are performed in the U.S. each year.
“Our results demonstrate the potential for autonomous robots to improve the efficacy, consistency, functional outcome and accessibility of surgical techniques,” said Dr. Peter C. Kim, Vice President and Associate Surgeon-in-Chief, Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. “The intent of this demonstration is not to replace surgeons, but to expand human capacity and capability through enhanced vision, dexterity and complementary machine intelligence for improved surgical outcomes.”
CUHK Successfully Performed Hong Kong’s First Robotic Endoscopic Scarless Surgery – A Major Endoscopic Technological Breakthrough
The Chinese University of Hong Kong announced on Dec. 15 that it has achieved a major technological breakthrough and completed the world first human case series of robotic-assisted endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD), which treats early gastric cancer.
CUHK Professor Philip Waiyan Chiu said on Dec. 15 that conventional treatment for gastric neoplasia involves resection and anastomosis (removing a diseased section of the intestine and sewing it shut), and carries certain risks of morbidity and mortality, while ESD is a new and effective technique for treatment of early stomach tumor.
Yet the major difficulty in performing ESD is that the design of traditional endoscope allows only single degree movements. Yet the newly designed robotic arms, set up jointly by CUHK, National University of Singapore, and Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, can be attached to the ordinary endoscopes to facilitate the performance of complex endoscopic surgery by extending the degree of movement through the two robotic arms.
Currently there are only five cases of robotic-assisted ESD performed in humans worldwide. CUHK performed the first two cases of robotic-assisted ESD for the treatment of early gastric neoplasia in Hong Kong.
CUHK said robotic-assisted ESD effectively reduces bleeding and infections and shortens the operation time. The two operations were successfully performed under general anesthesia, and the operation time was only 50 minutes for the first and 16 minutes for the second.
The researchers said that the new technology remains at the experimental stage; they hope it will be applied to clinical practice in five years. The researchers are also hoping to apply the robotic-assisted ESD technology to colon and rectal surgeries.