Versius: the robot that performs better surgeons in less time


by Marina Morg

Posted on July 13, 2018

Versius: the robot that performs better surgeons in less time

Trainee surgeons usually require more than 60 hours of practice. But this is going to be over in the future, thanks to robots and CMR (Cambridge Medical Robotics).

Versius is the world’s smallest surgical robot, which could be used in NHS operating theatres for the first time later this year if approved for clinical use. This robot is going to transform the way operations are performed by allowing tens or hundreds of thousands more surgeries each year to be carried out as keyhole procedures.

The Versius robot cuts down the time required to learn to tie a surgical knot from more than 100 training sessions, when using traditional manual tools, to just half an hour.

Surgical robots already exist, but the latest models are easier to use and take up far less space; some, such as Versius, are mobile enough to be wheeled from theatre to theatre.

Versius comprises three robotic limbs, each slightly larger than a human arm, complete with shoulder, elbow and wrist joints, mounted on bar-stool sized mobile units. However this robot can't act on his own. It has to be controlled by a surgeon at a console: the limbs rise, fall and swivel silently and smoothly. The robot is designed to carry out a wide range of keyhole procedures, including hysterectomies, prostate removal, ear, nose and throat surgery, and hernia repair. CMR claims the costs of using the robot will not be significantly higher than for a conventional keyhole procedure.

The company’s mission is to make minimal access surgery available to all those who need it by breaking down the barriers that currently exist, including the size, cost, and complexity of current surgical robotic systems.

They plan to launch their product initially in Europe, and they anticipate having more systems used in the UK by the end of next year. They also want to expand it to the United States in 2019. They hope to get more than 100 systems over the course of three years.

The company is looking forward to building a larger medical device company, and they plan to build other robots moving forward. However, their most important priority is to get good feedback from our first robot Versius, and then to go from there.


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