Technological advances and robotic developments have been under investigation across the world for some time now to determine the role they can play in microsurgical procedures. Well, with the recent arrival of the first RoboticScope to Australia, the future of microsurgeries may be upon us.
Microsurgical operations can be a straining and challenging experience for surgeons, as they require a high level of accuracy and precision, remaining sedentary for long periods of time, and multitasking to ensure that the microscope remains continuously focussed on the operation at hand.
An article published in the San Doctor Winter 2022 edition showcases the new RoboticScope clinical trial in Australia and the extraordinary progress that doctors are continuously making to benefit their patients.
The San Day Surgery in Hornsby, Sydney, is an outpatient centre with a reputation for robotic surgery. They have currently struck a one of a kind partnership with the manufacturers of RoboticScope, resulting in a loan of the device for a clinical assessment this year. The RoboticScope was recently used for the first time in Australia to perform a Vasectomy Reversal by Dr Katelaris, one of the experienced urological surgeons at the San Day Surgery. Dr Katelaris has been performing minimally invasive, no-scalpel technique vasectomies and vasectomy reversals for over 35 years.
When it comes to vasectomies and vasectomy reversals, even the most experienced urologist can experience strain and technical difficulty in this otherwise quick and painless procedure. This is due to the fact that the vas deferens (the tube that carries the sperm) being small that the sutures that need to be used are the size of a single human hair. While this is relatively simple to cut during a vasectomy, it is significantly harder to reattach in a vasectomy reversal, requiring the microsurgeon to use a microscope to sew up the fine structure. The high level of concentration and focus required to perform a vasectomy reversal is often interrupted when the surgeon needs to refocus the microscope, or enter a new field of depth.
RobiticScope is a new hands-free digital exo-scope, which ushers in a new era of microsurgeries. The RoboticScope can be controlled using a Head Mounted Display (HMD) which responds to the head movements of the surgeon, as well as a foot pedal, and allows for three dimensional visualisation. Images picked up by the microscope are projected onto a screen for the operating team to observe in real time.
This device presents huge advances for microsurgical procedures, as it assists surgeons to work in a relaxed, ergonomic position, while the RoboticScope automatically refocuses and readjusts focus and depth of field determined by head movements, and can be controlled using a foot pedal, leaving the surgeons able to completely prioritise their surgical technique. Ergonomic issues, such as strain and fatigue that take place during a long, complicated surgery, can be reduced due to the RoboticScope headset allowing surgeons to sit comfortably in one spot and still have a complete view of their patient.
The intuitive and innovative RoboticScope is currently used in over 20 countries around the world and has been tested on various microsurgical procedures, such as neurosurgery in Italy and eardrum reconstruction in Switzerland in 2020 and has since made its way to Australia for a clinical assessment.
Dr Katelaris hopes that with the new developments of the RoboticScope, this new technology will contribute towards increased improvement in patient outcomes and experiences in microsurgical procedures.
In the coming weeks, the RoboticScope will be tested out in other surgeries, such as plastic surgery, to determine where benefit can be found.
- Barazani, Y., Kaouk, J. and Sabanegh Jr., E., 2014. Robotic intra-abdominal vasectomy reversal: A new approach to a difficult problem. Canadian Urological Association Journal, 8(5-6), p.439.
- Parekattil SJ, Gudeloglu A, Brahmbhatt J, Wharton J, Priola KB. Robotic assisted versus pure microsurgical vasectomy reversal: technique and prospective database control trial. J Reconstr Microsurg. 2012 Sep;28(7):435-44. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1315788. Epub 2012 Jun 28. PMID: 22744901.
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