A British company has unveiled a new robotic surgery system, which is expected to operate on patients for the first time next year.
The Versius robot, designed and built in Cambridge, is a rival to the American da Vinci system, which is used in more than 70 hospitals in the UK.
Versius is smaller, and the company behind it, CMR Surgical, believes it will be more flexible and versatile than existing robots, allowing it to perform a wider range of operations.
Versius has independent modular arms which are “quick and easy to set up”, said Luke Hares, co-founder of CMR Surgical. “This means hospitals will be able to keep it busy, making it economical to run.”
Each of the robot arms has flexible joints like a human arm, which are controlled by a surgeon sitting at a console using two joysticks and a 3D screen.
Robot systems use laparoscopic, also known as keyhole, surgery, which is carried out with special instruments via small incisions.
This leads to reduced pain and faster recovery for patients, compared with conventional surgery. Robotic surgery also gives surgeons a better magnified view and increased dexterity.
“It takes around 80 hours to teach suturing with manual laparoscopic tools and some surgeons find it impossible to master,” said Addenbrooke’s Hospital surgeon Mark Slack, a co-founder of CMR Surgical.
“By contrast, it takes half an hour to teach using Versius – this will enable many more surgeons to deliver the benefits of keyhole surgery.”
By Fergus Walsh | BBC
Image Credit: CMR Surgical