A robotic platform for laparoscopic surgery

In general, all systems on the market have several standard features, such as a 3D vision for the surgeon performing the procedure and articulated instrumentation with flexible tips.

The Da Vinci system (Intuitive Surgical) is currently the most widely used robotic surgery system in the world. This platform is CE marked and FDA approved. It is an intuitive device with 8 mm diameter instruments, featuring a flexible tip with 7 degrees of freedom manoeuvrability. The platform also features a tremor control system for instrument operation. The system’s arms are attached to a fixed platform. In the Senhance (TransEnterix) surgical platform, also CE marked and FDA approved for major laparoscopic surgery, the instrument handling arms are independent and portable. Unlike the Da Vinci, this system features force feedback. It also features a system for monitoring (tracking) the surgeon’s vision in the control booth to automate the movement of the laparoscopic camera. Other platforms similar to the above, but without CE or FDA marking, are the Versius Surgical Robotic System (CMR Surgical LTD) and MicroSurge System (German Aerospace Center -DLR-), which do not base their application on recent laparoscopic approaches, significant improvements in surgeon ergonomics nor new vision technologies (3D, AR and MRI) for the entire surgical team and portable training platforms.

A robotic platform for microsurgery

The Da Vinci platform is currently the only robotic system on the market used in a limited number of microsurgical procedures. It has very basic instruments for microsurgery (microsurgical forceps and scissors) and tremor control in handling the instruments. However, its main application is in laparoscopic surgery. This system does not offer optimal conditions for its proper application in microsurgery. This platform has a digital visual magnification system (12x-15x), which does not meet the minimum requirements for optimal performance of certain microsurgical procedures. Moreover, it cannot be used with microsurgery-specific magnification equipment, which dramatically limits its possibilities. Furthermore, the arrangement of its instruments on the surgical field does not make it easy for the surgeon to switch between robot-assisted and conventional manual mode.

Another limitation of this platform is that it requires trocars for the instruments to function stably, even if the procedure is performed outside the patient’s body.