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Portable Robot Enables Real-Time Minimally Invasive Single Incision Surgeries

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 03 Aug 2022
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Image: MIRA is the world’s first miniaturized RAS platform (Photo courtesy of Virtual Incision Corporation)
Image: MIRA is the world’s first miniaturized RAS platform (Photo courtesy of Virtual Incision Corporation)

Many of the current robotic surgery technologies are cumbersome and immobile – oftentimes, consisting of larger structures that are permanently installed in private hospitals. The large size and structural permanence of such robotic platforms make them incapable of providing mobile surgical services, particularly to rural locations where such movable technology could be hugely beneficial to populations of patients that are far from readily-available medical and surgical access. Additionally, robotic-assisted surgery continues to be an inordinately expensive technology. Now, a first-of-its-kind miniaturized surgical robotic support device is designed to usher in a new era of minimally invasive surgery.

Virtual Incision Corporation (Lincoln, NE, USA) is pioneering MIRA, the world’s first miniaturized robotic-assisted surgery (RAS) platform. MIRA is a space-saving surgical system that weighs only two pounds and can be easily set up in any operating room. The design allows surgeons to obtain full multi-quadrant access without the need of docking and re-docking a large, cumbersome external platform. It is simply inserted through a single port and held in place with an adjustable stand that attaches to the OR table. Due to MIRA’s small footprint, staff and surgeons may be closer to the patient than ever before. MIRA’s unique design, along with the camera, can be easily cleaned and sterilized between cases without the need for special equipment. This eliminates the expense and time associated with draping that is necessary for other RAS platforms available today. A compatible suite of single-use disposable instruments is available to ensure surgeons have the tools they need.

The surgeon console allows the surgeon to have complete control of MIRA’s instrument arms and endoscopic vision of the anatomy in real-time. With the goal of reducing training time, Virtual Incision’s hand controls and foot pedals are designed to be familiar to minimally invasive surgeons. The console is built to improve surgeon ergonomics, allowing them to sit upright without having to put their head in an isolating chamber or wear inflexible headwear that other systems require. This gives surgeons the opportunity to perform RAS with improved situational awareness of the operating room. The companion cart includes support equipment and serves as a staging area for MIRA. The set up is simple and straightforward, with only two cords coming from the surgical field.

Virtual Incision is currently focused on expanding access to minimally invasive colorectal and lower gastrointestinal procedures, the fastest-growing operational areas for patients in the United States, with more than 400,000 surgeries performed each year. Though significant technological advancements and improved patient outcomes can reduce the total cost of care, the adoption of minimally invasive colon resection has been limited, despite increasing rates of these conditions. Beyond its initial device design for colon resection, Virtual Incision has begun developing a family of procedure-specific mini-robots for additional operations such as hernia repair, gallbladder removal and others, potentially enabling millions more surgical procedures each year. MIRA is currently in the final stages of its U.S. clinical trial under an Investigational Device Exemption to support U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) market authorization.

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