The University Hospital of Essen (UK Essen) has completed the world’s first robotic-assisted cancer procedures with Medrobotics’ Flex system, which enables surgical procedures where conventional line-of-sight technologies are either not feasible or sub-optimal.
Professor Stephan Lang, Dr Urban Geisthoff and Dr Pia Hasskamp performed the removal of a malignant lesion in one patient and the removal of a benign lesion in a second patient.
Lang said: "Using rigid instruments, surgeons sometimes cannot adequately access and visualize lesions minimally invasively.
"The combination of a flexible endoscope in conjunction with flexible instruments as provided by the Flex system can be advantageous, especially in patients with challenging anatomy."
The patients are also the first two enrolees in a post-market clinical follow-up study evaluating the safety and performance of the Flex system to access and visualize structures in the mouth and throat down to the level of the voice-box.
The multi-centre study will enrol up to 80 subjects in Germany and Belgium who are candidates for oropharyngeal or hypopharyngeal transoral surgery.
According to Medrobotics, the Flex system was designed to offer an affordable, easy-to-use robotic-assisted surgical platform for hospitals and surgeons seeking to provide minimally-invasive treatment options to the broadest number of patients.
Surgeons can navigate the Flex system around anatomical structures to hard-to-reach locations through a single access site, and then use the onboard vision system to deploy flexible surgical instruments.
Surgeons can operate in confined spaces with the help of wristed 3mm Flex instruments.
With its 1,300 beds, the UK Essen treats around 50,000 inpatients and 165,000 outpatients a year.
Image: Professor Lang and Dr Hasskamp performing cancer surgery with the Flex system. Photo: courtesy of Business Wire.