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Another robot surgery study shows reduced complications, readmissions over open surgery
December 19, 2013
Embattled robotic surgical devices maker Intuitive Surgical (NSDQ:ISRG) this week released another study comparing its da Vinci surgical suite to open surgery, finding that open surgery results in higher rates of complications and hospital readmissions.
The new findings, published in the November edition of the Journal of Endourology, add to a growing body of research showing that less-invasive robot-assisted operations beat open surgery for a number of procedures.
The retrospective study examined data on more than 5,400 patients at more than 400 hospitals, about 20% of which underwent open procedures with the remaining 80% treated with minimally invasive robot-assisted surgeries.
Researchers reported a 23.3% overall complication rate and 5.5% unplanned readmission rate for open prostatectomy, compared with a 5.6% complication rate and 3.5% readmission rate for robot-assisted surgery......complete article
Mako Surgical's shareholders OK $1.65B Stryker buyout
December 16, 2013
Mako Surgical (NSDQ:MAKO) cleared a hurdle on the way to its $1.65 billion buyout by Stryker (NYSE:SYK) when its shareholders approved the acquisition last week.
About 65% of the robotic surgery company's shareholders voted on the $30-per-share deal, with 99% voting to approve the transaction, according to a press release. The stock owners also gave their non-binding OK for "specified compensation payable to the company's named executive officers in connection with the merger," Mako said.
The deal is expected to close tomorrow, according to the release......
A Lankenau Hospital doctor has reached a milestone for heart surgery, becoming the first in the country to do 1,000 robot-assisted heart bypass operations.
When he started using the robot in 2006, Dr. Francis Sutter said it wasn't because it was new technology. He realized the traditional open-heart method often failed to help people who needed it most: the very sick......read more
Eaton Corporation recently bestowed a $4,800 grant to Cleveland High School’s biomedical engineering class to buy necessary equipment essential for the robotic surgery project.
Teacher Erin Hattabaugh does her best every year to push her students to the next level. Recent class projects included functional prosthetics and models of heart pumps.
The idea behind the robotic surgery module is simple: a block of jello is the patient; and a grape is the tumor inside of the patient. Students must remove the tumor from the patient.
The challenge is not so much in operating the machine as it is in creating said machine.
Hattabaugh has taught the class for 10 years. She said the surgery has been a component of the class for about nine of those years. “A lot of the equipment is outdated or broken. It is not specific enough to robotic surgery,” Hattabaugh said. “We actually started the project with old stuff not knowing yet [if we would get the grant]. I’m excited with it coming in next week and how it will change our designs.”.......read more
World’s most advanced robotic surgical system is unveiled in South Africa
World’s most advanced robotic surgical system is unveiled in South Africa
Posted on AARS: December 13, 2013
South Africa has taken a huge leap in the world of robotic medical technologic with the introduction of the first robotic surgical system into the country.
Nicknamed “Umthombo” which means never-ending fountain, the R17-million da Vinci Surgical System was launched at the Urology Hospital in Pretoria recently, and is one of over 3 000 such machines in the world.
One of the world’s leading urologists, Dr Lance Coetzee, who is heading up the da Vinci surgical procedures at the Urology Hospital in Pretoria, said that he was very excited that this procedure is now available in South Africa. He said that there has been some resistance from medical aid companies because of the costs of the procedure. “A prostrate removal will cost more than conventional surgery” added Dr Coetzee, “but you can’t drive a Ferrari at the price of a Mini.
”The Urology Hospital in Pretoria will also be used as a centre of excellence to train other surgeons in these robotic techniques.......read complete story
Ex-Hansen Medical exec must face SEC charges
December 11, 2013
A former executive with Hansen Medical (NSDQ:HNSN) can't get out of a lawsuit filed against him by the the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission accusing him of hatching a scheme to artificially inflate Hansen's revenues.
The SEC accused Christopher Sells, the robotic surgery device company's erstwhile vice president of commercial operations, and Timothy Murawski, a VP and Sells' deputy, of scheming "to have Hansen Medical personnel temporarily install the company’s robotic catheter system at a customer site before the customer was ready for it so that Hansen Medical could record the product sale," according to an SEC press release issued at the time.
"Hansen Medical personnel would then immediately dismantle the equipment and put it in storage until months later, when they would return to reinstall the equipment," according to the statement. "The SEC further alleges that, in a sales transaction in the final days of December 2008, Sells and Murawski instructed Hansen Medical personnel to forge a customer signature on certain required documents to allow the company to record the revenue that quarter.".....read more
Surgical robots' awkward adolescence
Posted on AARS: December 10, 2013
Studies call their effectiveness into question; now an FDA recall looms.
FORTUNE -- It has not been the best year for Intuitive Surgical (ISRG), the maker of the most popular robot in the world for general surgery, the da Vinci.
First, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found little added benefit to hysterectomies performed with a robot, and yet the procedure cost on average one-third more when using the $1.5-$2.3 million machine.
Then the Food and Drug Administration launched a probe on the company, sending out a survey for doctors that asked what sort of surgeries the robot is least suited for, and questioned the rigor of their training on the da Vinci.
Finally, last week, the FDA posted a Class II recall on the machines after Intuitive sent out a warning for customers that the arms can momentarily stall during procedures.
The robots aren't being pulled from the operating room, but they are undergoing plenty of inspections. Shares of Intuitive have fallen nearly 25% this year.......read more
FROM THE CLINICAL ROBOTIC SURGERY ASSOCIATION
December 10, 2013
Starting today, the presentations given during the 5th Annual Worldwide Congress on Clinical Robotics and Surgical Innovation held in Washington D.C. on October 3-5, 2013, will be published in the video gallery.
CLICK HERE to experience the conference from your office or your living room!
Laparoscopic hysterectomy appears less painful than robotic surgery
December 9, 2013
Patients who underwent a robotically assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy required significantly more postoperative analgesia than did those who had a conventional laparoscopic hysterectomy.
The findings of a retrospective review may help determine which procedure to go with, when postoperative pain is an important recovery factor, Dr. Megan Wasson said at a meeting sponsored by the AAGL.
Dr. Wasson, a fourth-year ob.gyn. resident at the Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington, Del., reviewed the postoperative analgesic requirements of 353 women who underwent minimally invasive hysterectomy for benign conditions at the facility from 2009 to 2012.
Among the group, 116 had a conventional procedure – 78 had a laparoscopic-assisted supracervical hysterectomy and 38 had a total laparoscopic hysterectomy. Robotically assisted hysterectomy was performed for 237 women – three of these were supracervical hysterectomies and 234 were total hysterectomies.
Because patients received different kinds of pain medication, Dr. Wasson and her colleagues converted all of the pain treatment to oxycodone equivalents.......read more
USER FRIENDLY The Navio orthopedic surgical system features a hand-held bone-sculpting tool.
Robotics have come to partial knee replacements, which "are unforgiving of even a very subtle amount of misalignment or imbalance," says Jess Lonner, MD, one of the first surgeons to use the Navio system from Blue Belt Technologies to perform a partial knee replacement. "This device reduces variability, enhances the precision with which we can prepare the bone and dramatically improves the ability to balance soft tissues."
"It's long been known that partial knee replacements fare far better when they're aligned well and balanced well," says Dr. Lonner, associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and attending orthopaedic surgeon at the Rothman Institute in Philadelphia, Pa. "But they can be very challenging for surgeons who don't do many. It's hard to become proficient. Even in the hands of a proficient surgeon, it's difficult to be as precise as you'd like with conventional methods.
"Navio gives surgeons robotic control via a handheld, computer-assisted bone-cutting tool along with a navigation platform that presents a detailed virtual cutting guide. The system, built on an open implant-architecture platform, supports multiple implant systems, says the company......read more
Intuitive Robots May Stall in Surgery, Company Warns
December 4, 2013
Intuitive Surgical Inc. (ISRG), the maker of a $1.5 million robot surgery system, told doctors that friction in the arms of some devices may cause the units to stall, the second warning issued about the company’s products in a month.
The company sent an “urgent medical device recall” Nov. 11 alerting customers of the issue, which affects 1,386 of the systems worldwide, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a Dec. 3 notice on its website. The stalling may result in a sudden “catch-up” if the surgeon pushes through the resistance, the agency said.
“Reports of friction within certain instrument arms can interrupt smooth instrument motion,” the FDA said on its website. “This can be felt by the surgeon as resistance in the movement of the master. In this situation, the instrument can stall momentarily and then suddenly catch-up to the master position if the surgeon pushes through the resistance.”
Intuitive is facing growing questions about its marketing strategies, training procedures and the safety of its devices, Bloomberg News has reported. The FDA said last month that the number of adverse event reports, including deaths, injuries and system malfunctions, has more than doubled this year as of Nov. 3 compared with all of 2012.......read more
ProPep Nerve Monitoring System™ Used to Identify Nerves Critical to Sexual Function During Robotic-Assisted Prostate Cancer Surgery
December 3, 2013
ProPep Surgical, LLC., a privately-held, Austin-based medical device company developing intraoperative nerve monitoring technologies for laparoscopic and robotic-assisted surgery, announced today that Dr. Ruff, at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, used the ProPep Nerve Monitoring System during a robotic-assisted prostatectomy surgery to identify the location of otherwise non-visible somatic nerves known to be critical to erectile function.
Dr. Ruff’s work revealed that these nerves could potentially be at risk during prostatectomy surgery because their position within the pelvis is variable and does not always agree with surgeons’ generally acceptable beliefs in regard to their location and proximity to the prostate.....read more
Study ID's Risks for Ureteral Injury from Robotic Prostatectomy
December 2, 2013
Preoperative evaluation and surgical planning can help prevent ureteral injuries during robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy, according to investigators who have identified characteristics that put patients at risk for this complication.
Noting a paucity of existing data on ureteral injuries sustained during robotic prostatectomy, Mani Menon, MD, and colleagues from the Vattikuti Urology Institute at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit tracked 6,442 consecutive men who underwent robotic prostatectomy at the facility between January 2001 and June 2013. All operations were performed by one of five surgeons.
Only three patients sustained ureteral injuries (complete ureteral transection) during surgery, resulting in a 0.046% rate of ureteral injury. One of the men had to be readmitted for further treatment.
The two surgeons involved in these three cases.......read more
Jury Awards $100,000 in Oregon Malpractice Suit
December 2, 2013
An Oregon gynecologist who removed a patient’s healthy ovary and left a piece of plastic in her body after a 2007 robotic surgery has been ordered to pay more than $100,000.
U.S. District Court jurors convicted Dr. Daniel Laury of medical malpractice in mid-November.
The lawsuit filed by the woman and her husband sought nearly $1 million in damages. The jury of four women and three men awarded more than $10,500 in medical expenses and $100,000 as compensation for physical pain and mental anguish.
Laury’s attorney, Thomas Armosino Jr., did not immediately respond to a message left by The Associated Press seeking comment. A number listed for Laury was disconnected.
Laury used a da Vinci robotic device that malfunctioned during Michelle Elsey’s Sept. 28, 2007, surgery at Providence Medford Medical Center in Medford, according to hospital records......read more
Robot-inserted needles and catheters
Robot-inserted needles and catheters
December 2, 2013
Researchers at the UPM are involved in the design of a robotic arm for precise guidance of the insertion of needles, catheters and surgical instruments in procedures of minimally invasive surgery.
This robot has a hybrid powerstrain structure which will allow a precise, repetitive, planned and controlled insertion enhancing the current procedures used so far. In addition, it has a lower cost and it requires a brief period of learning. The design, which has been patented, is the result of a joint collaboration between researchers of the High School of Industrial Engineers of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) and the Gliatech S.L Company.
These procedures of guided surgery, needle insertion, catheters and stents are used to take samples of fluids and tissues for biopsies and diagnosis. This robot can make precise and controlled insertions, deposition markers and a specific administration of drugs. All this is possible thanks to a virtual planning, which is based on the analysis of medical images which are previously captured with a scanner.....read more
Medical device startups hit by decline of venture capital investment
December 1, 2013
Peter DeComo raised $20 million from investors for Renal Solutions Inc. in 2002, when the Pittsburgh medical device company had only a working prototype for an artificial kidney and no money.
During the next five years, he brought in $20 million more in capital before selling Renal Solutions Inc. to a German outfit in 2007 for nearly $200 million.
"That company couldn't even get funded today," lamented DeComo, the CEO of South Side -based ALung Technologies Inc. , because venture capital investors have pulled back from startup companies in his industry.
With that important funding source drying up, DeComo worries many promising young companies in the Pittsburgh region may never get off the ground. "What it means, I believe, is that innovation will be stifled and good companies won't survive," he said.
Across the country, the amount of money invested in startup companies is rebounding after taking a nosedive during the recession of 2008 and 2009. But the portion of venture capital going to medical devices has continued to decline since hitting a high in 2007......read more
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