The industry of medical robot is, without a doubt growing by the day. It does not matter whether the robots are being utilized in crisis response, target therapy, invasive medical surgeries, prosthetics, etc. The results are almost always the same, perfect. Medical robots are now widely utilized in many different areas, transforming the medical sector worldwide.
As headways of innovation develop persistently, medical surgeries have remained a pretty refined discipline. One fit to treat so many conditions and illnesses. Therefore, as computer hardware and software improves over time, some advances have led to them being utilized in the OR (operating room).
Most medical expert systems are utilized to carry out surgical procedures. Due to this, surgical medical robots have become pretty popular in the medical sector making the robotic surgery empire pretty successful. Everything from gastrointestinal surgeries and organ transplants to urological and spine surgery can be performed using some medical robot.
In the USA, around nine million robot-assisted surgeries were undertaken back in 2018. Moreover, the global surgical robotics market made approximately 4.71 billion dollars in 2018 alone, with the industry’s net worth looking to hit around 15.43 billion dollars by 2029. The robotic surgery market has three different categories, these are surgical systems, surgical services and instruments and accessories.
Due to these successes, many different organizations have emerged, all seeking a piece of the robotics technology pie. But what services can you expect from a medical robot? And how does a medical robotic system operate?
Companies making headways in Healthcare Robotics
Here are a couple of companies that have emerged and taken over the healthcare robotics industry:
Intuitive Surgical Company
Back in 2018, Intuitive surgical company was the leading healthcare robotics company in the USA. Their success came when they developed and got FDA approval for the da Vinci system. Since then, intuitive has worked to make this Framework better, yielding a robotic surgery empire that most envy to date.
A bit on the Da Vinci
Da Vinci Surgical System
The da Vinci surgical system is pretty crucial in the robotic surgery market. It provides a clinician with advanced instruments that they can utilize to perform robotic-assisted surgeries. These systems are mainly used to handle minimally invasive procedures.
How does the Da Vinci System work?
The da Vinci system simply translates, in real-time, the hand movements that a clinician makes at a console. The system bends and rotates various instruments during the procedure to carry out a successful surgery.
The da Vinci system has small wristed instruments that imitate a human hand’s motion. The system also provides a highly magnified, three-dimensional definition view of the area being operated. The size of the da Vinci system also helps surgeons carry out complex operations through small incisions on the skin’s surface. It can also fit easily in tight spaces, making it space-efficient.
Components of Da Vinci Healthcare Systems
The Da Vinci System is comprised of the following components:
– Surgeon console – The surgeon sits around the console to control the various instruments while at the same time viewing the patient’s anatomy in 3 -dimensions.
– Patient care – The patient cart is positioned along the patient’s bed. The cart holds an HD camera and various instruments, which the surgeon controls using the surgeon console.
– Vision cart – The Vision cart helps various components of the da Vinci system communicate. It also supports a 3-dimensional HD vision system.
The company’s catheter works by exploring the human’s peripheral vasculature. It then provides an output utilized to make arrangements for therapeutic devices—the robotic catheter functions as a Hansen’s Magellan System component. Moreover, the company’s Sensei X system uses three-dimensional catheters and three-dimensional visualization to let doctors control the system’s robotically steerable catheter. By steering this catheter, they can collect data on the insides of the heart’s atria.
Diligent Robotic Company
Diligent’s Artificial Intelligence-empowered healthcare robots work with humans to tackle daily occurring scenarios. For example, the company has an autonomous robot, Moxi, which can tackle challenging logistic tasks and run errands in a healthcare facility.
Medrobotics is the company behind the famous flex robot. They got their FDA approval for this robot back in 2015, which allowed doctors to utilize the robot to access anatomical locations like ears and nose.
CMR Surgical Limited
Established in 2014, CMR is an incredible company that majors in developing robots that carry out minimally invasive surgeries. The goal of this organization is to give humans universal access to minimally invasive procedures at an affordable price.
Stryker is a healthcare robotics company that made headlines when it purchased Mako Surgical Corporation in 2013. After buying this corporation, Stryker became the sole owner of the Rio Robotic Arm. An interactive Orthopedic Surgical Platform. This Framework is good to perform total hip and partial knee arthroplasty.
Corindus Vascular Robotics
The corindus vascular company is behind the famous CorPath 200 medical device. These corindus devices are useful in performing percutaneous coronary meditation. The device comes with a surgeon’s cockpit that has radiation therapy shields.
Regarding innovation in the healthcare robotics sector, verb surgical takes the lead without much strain. As of now, this company is slowly closing in on the creation of a digital surgical platform that mergers robotic tech, data analytics, progressed instrumentations, and progressed visualization. Moreover, this company fully embraces machine learning expertise and big data from Google hence developing a cost-friendly surgical platform.
Zimmer Biomet Robotics
The Zimmer Biomet Robotics Company, earlier known as Medtech, is an organization famous for producing healthcare robots. Zimmer organization mostly majors in surgical robots that assist in performing central nervous system procedures. Their most successful product is known as ROSA, a robot that helps surgeons undertake negligibly invasive surgeries.
MyoPro by Myomo is a robot that helps those who have lost motion or debilitated their arms or hands due to multiple conditions. The medical device studies the human’s nerve signals and then activates tiny engines which encourage hand and arm movements. Issues That Healthcare Robotics companies encounter
Issues faced by Healthcare Robotics Companies
Medical Robotic Systems, the Distinction
Despite the various semantics in play when dealing with medical expert systems. Surgical robotics manufacturing organizations still have to be pretty careful when manufacturing surgical robots, making their design and development process distinct.
The distinction comes due to two very crucial reasons:
- Regulatory strategy – It can easily change according to the device in use. The change is especially in play when it comes down to the human body autonomy level, team training, and usability validation.
- The systems are clinical extensions – The companies should also understand that the robots are just extensions of the current ability of a clinician. Simply put, the robot facilitates activities that require manual execution. With this in mind, the companies try simplifying the system’s user interface significantly.
Most robotic systems are based on tech that can facilitate an autonomous procedure easily. Due to these reasons, the efficacy and safety of the robots for FDA approval tend to be pretty cost-prohibitive. There are procedures for medical robotic companies to prove that a medical robot is ready to hit the market and humans can use. Medical robotic companies have to first demonstrate the medical robot safely handling contingencies that might be unpredictable. They then have to carry out validation trials using hundreds or thousands of patients to get the medical design right.
Also, by letting the clinicians control the system, the companies ensure that the results remain in the hands of the human, not the machine. Maintaining clinicians in the system helps further validate the robot’s user interface. As the surgeons utilize the robots, they can judge whether or not the system is functioning correctly. However, you should also note that, during this validation process, only the robot is in trial, not the clinician’s abilities. Due to these reasons, medical robots are pretty complex to make. The maintenance fees of these robots is also pretty high, hence few companies are able to manufacture them.
Minimally Invasive Surgery and why it is crucial to Healthcare Robotic companies
This invasive surgery lets a clinician utilize a technique that significantly limits the number and size of incisions or cuts made during surgeries. These surgeries are typically safer when compared to open surgery. Moreover, patients who undergo this surgeries tend to recover faster and more comfortably.
While performing open surgeries, the surgeon makes a large cut to have a clear view of a patient’s anatomy when operating. On the other hand, in minimally invasive surgeries, the surgeon utilizes tiny cameras, lights, and tools that can easily fit through small incisions made on the patient’s skin. Using this technique, the surgeon can operate on a patient without opening up a lot of muscle and skin.
You can undertake most of these surgeries using robotic technology, allowing precision during the operation.
Surgical Procedures Handled by Surgical Robotics
Robotics companies in the robotic surgery market have developed surgical robots that can treat several conditions. As per the 21st century, you can find surgical robots that deal with:
Lungs Operations: In this category, surgical robotics treat tumors, emphysema and cancer.
Heart Operations: Surgical robots are useful to treat heart conditions which include repairing heart valves, treating mitral valve and atrial fibrillation.
Urologic System Operations: In this category, surgeons use surgical robots to treat bladder, prostate, and kidney cancer. They also utilize it to handle kidney transplants, kidney removal, kidney blockage, kidney cysts and kidney stones.
Gynecologic System Operations: Under this category, these robots are useful in treating endometriosis, ovarian cysts and ovarian cancer. Such robots can also remove ovaries and the uterus.
Digestive System Operations: In this category of robotic surgery, doctors or surgeons utilize robots to treat stomach cancer, gallbladder cancer, liver cancer, and rectal or colon cancer. They also use the same technique to remove parts of a colon due to cancer or other diseases.
Other Areas: Other application areas of robotic surgery are in treating gastric bypass, pancreatic cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and gallbladder stones and infections. These robots are also useful in carrying out orthopedic operations. The orthopedic robotics market features surgeries that fix or replace a human hip.
Benefits of Robotic Surgery
While both robotic surgery and laparoscopic surgery are laparoscopic, one main advantage makes robotic surgeries superior. That advantage is that the surgeon gets a three-dimensional view of the operation area while utilizing surgical robots for surgeries. On the other hand, laparoscopic operations only let the surgeon view the operation area in 2 dimensions.
Moreover, surgical robots have motion scaling, an essential software that improves the precision of a surgeon, helping them perform delicate operations.
Advantages of robotic surgery over open surgery include less blood loss during surgery, less damage to muscles, tissues, and skin. The patient’s recovery time is also shortened, and the risk of infection is lower while using robotic surgery. Also, due to the small incisions, the scar that is left is less visible.
What are the Risks of utilizing Robots to Perform Operations?
Certain risks such as infections and anesthesia are possible with all surgeries. What’s more, robotic surgeries tend to take more time when compared to open surgeries. That is because, in robotic surgeries, the surgeon has to first set up the surgical robot and all the instruments needed to operate before the operation. Due to these risks, one must provide prior written permission before the operation. In some cases, the doctor will even opt for open surgery if the risks seem inevitable.
Other categories of Healthcare Robots
Modular robots simply enhance various systems. One can also configure these systems to undertake multiple functions which include human dexterity functions. In the healthcare industry, these robots include prosthetic robotic legs and arms and a therapeutic wearable exoskeleton.
Therapeutic robots help rehabilitate stroke, paralysis, and traumatic brain injury patients. What’s more, certain companies are working on developing a robotic arm mounted on a wheelchair to help patients living with spinal injuries carry out their daily chores.
Autonomous Mobile Medical Robots
Most health care organizations rely on AMRs to handle tasks such as telepresence, disinfection, and delivering medicine. However, when you equip AMRs with light detection and ranging systems plus mapping capabilities, these systems can handle some tasks autonomously. For example, they can easily navigate the hospital hallways, visiting patients in patient rooms as instructed while the doctor sits at a distance and communicates with the patient via a screen.
Other robots produced to handle medical operations include service robots and the so called social robots.
Service robots handle daily routine logistic tasks, saving health workers a lot of time. Most of these robots work autonomously and then send out reports once they have tackled a task successfully.
Social robots have social intelligence. They interact directly with patients in patient rooms. Medical facilities utilize these robots for monitoring purposes and social interactions. When used perfectly, these robots can encourage patients to stay on track in terms of following treatment regimes.
Robotic medical companies have, without a doubt, impacted the medical industry incredibly. Due to their inventions, surgeons can now handle complex operations with ease and precisions. What’s more, as tech keeps growing every day, we can expect new robotic surgical technologies to emerge with time. The medical device industry is also not left behind with its growth slowly matching that of medical expert systems.