The first super-microsurgical intervention with ‘robot hands’ has been successfully performed at Maastricht University Medical Center+ (Maastricht UMC+), an academic hospital in the Netherlands. The physicians used a system from Microsure, a Dutch firm spun off from Eindhoven University of Technology and Maastricht UMC+, to suture sub-millimeter vessels in the arm of a patient suffering from lymphedema.
The robotic device enhances the surgeon’s precision and dexterity, making this type of procedure easier to perform.
An effective treatment for lymphedema, in which fluid builds up and causes swelling, super-microsurgery connects lymphatic vessels to blood vessels to restore lymphatic fluid flow and alleviate swelling. This procedure is difficult and stressful to perform, given the extreme surgical precision required.
The Microsure robot is controlled by a surgeon whose hand movements are converted into smaller, more precise movements, which then are performed on the patient by a set of "robot hands." The device also stabilizes any tremor in the surgeon’s movements, which makes the procedure more controlled and thus easier to perform.
The Microsure robot is expected to enhance other microsurgical procedures and enable new interventions that are currently impossible to perform by hand. This will lead to better patient outcomes and lower healthcare costs due to a reduced rate of complications and less post-operative treatment.