Scientists have developed a 3-D endoscopic telesurgery robot system that offers surgeons a broader, stereoscopic view of affected areas and gives them more intuitive control of forceps and other surgical instruments.
The system is expected to improve the survival rates of patients by reducing the risk of failing to completely remove malignant tissues, according to a Sept. 4 announcement by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and Kyushu University.
The new system, with three cameras set at different angles, provides 3-D imagery of patients on surgical bed to surgeons who are performing telesurgery.
NEDO and Kyushu University hope to introduce the new system for practical use within five years for three types of surgical procedures: cranial nerve, breast and digestive organs.
A U.S.-made 3-D surgery robot system, called “da Vinci,” is already used in operations for prostate and other cancers.
Makoto Hashizume, a professor of advanced medical care at Kyushu University, said the new system can be used for surgical procedures for a larger variety of diseases.
He added that the system costs less than the da Vinci system and its main control unit is “as small as a lunch box.”
While the robot control mechanism will be the same for all types of envisaged applications, surgical instruments will be changed depending on the surgery.
In performing surgery for brain cancer, one camera is set in front and two others on both sides. The system allows surgeons to remove tumors effectively while avoiding damaging healthy tissues.
The number of openings for inserting endoscopes will be limited, and the size of the openings will be small, the scientists said.
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