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Dawn of Robotic Surgery: New Versius robot surgery system coming to NHS

Published Date | 2018 September 12

A new robotic surgery system unveiled by a British Company, expected to operate on patients for the first time next year.
United Kingdom: 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. This new technological development in the healthcare industry will turn out to be a boon for the Healthcare IT market. Thus, new robotic surgery system will have a positive impact on the healthcare sector in the near future. CMR Surgical, the company behind it believes that as Versius is smaller, it will be more flexible and versatile than the existing robots, which will allow performing a wider range of operations. Because of independent modular arms, Versius are quick and easy to set up. Luke Hares, co-founder of CMR Surgical said, "This means hospitals will be able to keep it busy, making it economical to run." Like a human arm, each of the robot arms has flexible joints, which are controlled by a surgeon sitting at a console using two joysticks and a 3D screen. Robot systems use laparoscopic, also called keyhole surgery, which is performed with special instruments via small incisions. Compared to conventional surgery, this leads to reduced pain and patient’s faster recovery. Robotic surgery permits 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. "Whereas, it takes half an hour to teach using Versius - this will enable many more surgeons to deliver the benefits of keyhole surgery." Da Vinci is dominated the field of robotic surgery, made by Californian Company Intuitive Surgical. Since 2001, Da Vinci robots have been operating in the UK and there are now more than 4,500 worldwide. They are mostly used for bladder, prostate, gynaecological surgery, although their operational range is expanding. Expiry of Key patents for the da Vinci system encouraged other companies to enter the field of surgical robotics. Google has recently partnered with Johnson & Johnson on medical equipment manufacturer Verb Surgical. The company aims to have its robots connected to the internet so they can learn from each other. It is aiming to launch in 2020. World's largest medical device company called Medtronic, also has a surgical robot, due for release next year. According to the market insights of BlueWeave Consulting, Robotics will play an increasingly prominent role in the operation theatres. The newer generation robots are more compact, versatile and cost-effective, which means robotic surgery can be delivered locally, not only in large hospitals with dedicated robotic suites. In the forthcoming years, Robots might do some elements of surgery independently. Surgeons will remain in control but as human-robot interface will be developed; simple parts of an operation, like suturing or closing a wound that might be automated. Within the next few months, Versius robot is likely to receive a European health and safety approval mark. Though the price of the robot system has not been revealed yet, but CMR Surgical says it aims to make it more cost-effective for NHS hospitals than its American rival. Therefore, the market will expect to bloom in the upcoming years with these technological advancements in the healthcare sector.