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Robotics Research
Posted on February 17, 2020 by  & 

Steady-Handed Robot Succeeds in Delicate Microsurgery

Microsure is a medical device company located in Eindhoven (Netherlands) founded by Eindhoven University of Technology and Maastricht University Medical Center in 2016. Their focus is to improve patient's lives through developing robot systems for microsurgery and their current product is MUSA, the world's first surgical robot for open microsurgery. MUSA is designed in close cooperation with microsurgeons and engineers, specifically for microsurgical applications. MUSA provides superhuman precision for microsurgeons, enabling new interventions that are currently impossible to perform by hand.
Microsure has announced the closure of a Series B funding round led by Innovation Industries Fund (IIF) and including participation from Brabantse Ontwikkelings Maatschappij (BOM) and European Investment Fund (EIF). For further information see the IDTechEx report on New Robotics and Drones 2018-2038: Technologies, Forecasts, Players.
"There is an exploding global demand for robotic solutions in surgery to help caregivers harness the power of technology to make faster, better and more affordable procedures." said Microsure CEO, Ilker Soydan, PhD. "Our strategic partnership with some of the most respected and knowledgeable local and regional tech investors in Europe will accelerate our growth in this critical market."
Microsurgery is characterized by performing surgery close to the limits of what is physically possible. The Microsure system (MUSA) is designed by and for microsurgeons who want to overcome their physical limitations and enhance their performance. By improving the quality of microsurgical procedures via precision and dexterity and making them easier to perform, Microsure hopes to increase the number of treatment options for patients.
The first in-human trials of robot-assisted supermicrosurgery using a dedicated robotic platform have now been reported in a pilot study in Nature Communications.
Advances in technology have meant that supermicrosurgery can be performed on vessels within the body with diameters as small as 0.3 mm. However, the success of the surgery is limited by the precision and stability of the surgeon's hands. Robot-assisted supermicrosurgeries have the potential to overcome this obstacle because more refined and subtle movements can be performed. MUSA was developed to achieve this aim and preclinical tests have evaluated the safety and feasibility of using this system.
Tom van Mulken and colleagues performed a randomized feasibility study involving 20 patients with breast cancer-related lymphedema who underwent MUSA-assisted or manual surgery. The authors evaluated patient outcomes at one and three months post-surgery, the duration of the surgery and the quality of the connection made between the venous and lymphatic system during surgery (lymphatico-venous anastomosis). They confirmed that it is feasible to complete robot-assisted supermicrosurgery in patients using the MUSA robot and that this led to an improvement in the patients' quality of life.
Larger multi-centre trials with more patients and surgeons will be necessary to confirm these results. However, the authors conclude that the findings are promising for the future of reconstructive supermicrosurgery.
Source: Scimex, Microsure
Top image: Scimex
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