European surgeons perform world's first super-microsurgery with robotic device

por Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | October 05, 2017
Rad Oncology Operating Room
Sutured .3 to .8 mm vessels
Surgeons at Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands performed the world's first super-microsurgical intervention with a robotic device.

The team used Eindhoven's Microsure surgical robot to suture .3 to .8 millimeter vessels in the patient's arm. The surgery was a success and the patient is doing well.

Super-microsurgery is a new and improved treatment for patients suffering with lymphedema. However, it's a very difficult procedure to perform and only a few surgeons worldwide are capable of doing it by hand.

Lymphedema is usually a side effect of breast cancer treatment in which fluid builds up and causes swelling. The incidence of breast cancer-related lymphedema ranges from six percent to 70 percent, according to a clinical article published in Cancer Network.

The surgeons still control Microsure, but their hand movements are converted into smaller, more precise movements that are performed with a set of robotic hands. It's capable of stabilizing any tremor in the surgeon's movements.

"[The] robot allows us to operate on minuscule lymph vessels and blood vessels with more ease, while getting better results for these complex and fatiguing interventions," Dr. Shan Shan Qiu Shao, plastic surgeon at the university, said in a statement.

Microsure is expected to be used for a number of other microsurgical procedures, like tissue reconstructions after removing a tumor. It will even be able to perform new interventions that are impossible to conduct by hand.

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