How will microsurgery robots redefine modern healthcare dynamics?
The global microsurgery robot industry is set to witness some remarkable developments over the next few years, with rapid advancements in robotic technology and its increasing adoption in healthcare. Robotic surgery, also known as robot-assisted surgery, is perhaps one of the most revolutionary innovations in the healthcare space in modern times. Robotic assistant haves shown significant promising in a variety of microsurgical procedures.
In terms of annual revenue, global microsurgery robot industry size is projected to reach more than US$2.24 billion by 2026, driven by constant technological advancements and the demand for minimally invasive procedures.
Emerging applications of robots in microsurgery
In recent years, the microsurgery robot industry has witnessed numerous innovations. In February 2020, for instance, medical technology firm MicroSure in collaboration with a team of researchers from the Eindhoven University of Technology had unveiled the world’s first robotic platform MUSA for microsurgery.
During the same month, MUSA had been successfully used in the world’s first clinical trial of robot assisted microsurgery in collaboration with the Maastricht University Medical Centre. The team compared robot assisted and manual LVA procedures for the treatment of lymphedema associated with breast cancer to assess the feasibility of using the technology. They had confirmed that it is safe and viable to connect blood vessels to lymphatic vessels.
In June 2020, MUSA received the CE Mark by the notified body DEKRA. The robotic surgical assistant platform is now clinically and commercially available.
Citing another instance, in August 2020, Sony Corporation along with a team of researchers from the Wyss Institute at Harvard University had rolled out a new surgical assistant called the mini-RCM, a new origami-inspired technology. The robot is considerably lighter and more compact than other technologies previously developed in academia.
In a recent tracing test conducted by the researchers, mini-RCM was able to complete the tasks with approximately 68% more accuracy than a handheld tool. The robot had also successfully completed a mock version of retinal vein cannulation, a surgical procedure in which a needle needs to be carefully inserted through the eye to inject therapeutics into the back of the eye.
The future of robot assisted microsurgery
The excessive cost of robotic surgical assistants along with the presence of strict regulatory norms may be a key challenge for microsurgery robot market going forward. However, leading players in the sector are constantly innovating to bring novel technologies to the market.
Ongoing research and development activities are proving to be a crucial step in the advancement of microsurgery robot technology. Over the next few years, more patients can be treated using the technology which promises to deliver ultrahigh precision and accuracy while minimizing human errors.
Recent developments in reconstructive microsurgery have evolved into super microsurgery, which includes operations on vessels ranging from 0.3 - 0.8 millimeters. These procedures are much more difficult that regular surgeries due to the difference in the size of the tissue involved. As a result, super microsurgical procedures are limited by the dexterity of the surgeon’s hands. In such cases, robotic surgical assistants, which mimic the actions of the surgeon’s hands, can be used, enabling a major breakthrough in microsurgery.