Welcoming Activ Surgical to the Rising Tide Portfolio!
Surgical robots are entering the operating theatre
- The sub-group of surgical robotics is the fastest growing area of robotic and automation adoption in the healthcare industry. The top three areas of healthcare currently being impacted the most are laboratory automation, pharmaceuticals and surgery.
- Robots have been giving surgeons a helping hand for years. In 2017 there were about 4,000 of them scattered around the world’s hospitals, and they took part in 750,000 operations (The Economist, 2018).
- Surgeons say robotic surgery produces less pain and a quicker recovery for patients. It also helps surgeons perform more precise operations.
Robotic surgery is an exciting technology that allows for minimally invasive surgery meaning less invasive surgery and with tiny incisions. Doctors prefer this approach when possible because it means less pain for the patient, reduced risk of infection, and faster recovery. Other benefits include shorter hospital stay, less blood loss, fewer blood transfusions, less pain, and quicker return to daily routine. Many conditions have been successfully treated using robotic-assisted surgery. These include colorectal surgery, general surgery, gynecologic surgery, heart surgery, endometriosis, head and neck (transoral) surgery, thoracic surgery, and urologic surgery.
The global surgical robotics market is segmented on the basis of component, surgery type and region. On the basis of component, the market is segmented into systems, accessories and services. Based on surgery type the market is segmented into gynecology surgery, urology surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, general surgery and other surgeries. The global surgical robots market is expected to exceed more than $91 Billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 10.4% in the given forecast period (Market Research Engine). The major driving factors of are as follows:
- Introduction of technologically advanced systems
- Neurological disorders is increasing worldwide
- Higher dexterity along with cost-efficiency in combination to the competitive products
- Growth in healthcare spending
- Introducing of nano robots is changing the trend of surgical robots in the healthcare sector
Even best-in-class laparoscopic and robot assisted surgical technologies are reliant on surgeon intuition and skill—a steep learning curve that can only be climbed with time and experience. Activ Surgical is building a platform to integrate machine intelligence into surgical robotics. The Company is currently focusing on error-prone steps in surgery, beginning with suturing. Their software system follows five steps: plan (identify tissue and calculate optimal suture placement); navigate (recreate 3D surface of target tissue in real-time using ML); execute (place suture in target area and autonomously tie knots); collect data and learn (monitors, structures and learns all variables of suture execution); repeat. While surgical robotics has advanced in the past decades, there is a range in the level of autonomy among systems. Activ Surgical aims to increase the level of autonomy while still keeping surgeons in the loop.
Activ Surgical is developing software with the aim of integrating it into other companies’ robotic systems. They are integrating machine intelligence and computer vision and robotics to catalyze a shift in robotic surgery to deliver better surgical outcomes. Deep learning combined with real-time image processing is particularly necessary as soft tissues move with each incision or stitch. Proprietary computer vision combines cutting-edge image acquisition and computational image processing electronics. The robotic systems will aim for versatile formfactors designed to seamlessly fit within operating room workflow.
Dr. Peter Kim, a Founder of Activ Surgical:
While serving as the Vice President of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., Dr. Kim was largely involved with the development of the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot or STAR, which has since been licensed by Activ Surgical. Acting as a robotic surgeon, STAR uses 3D imaging and sensing technology to help with its vision and precision, respectively. Dr. Kim advocates that the machine is better than a human surgeon in that it can see more than what human vision spectrum allows. In May of last year, STAR successfully operated on live soft tissue without human assistance, marking the first time a robot has been able to accomplish this feat. The following video provides additional information on how robotic tools will work with surgeons in saving lives.