UK based company, CMR Surgical, has unveiled its new robotic surgery system named the Versius robot. The NHS hopes to use Versius across the UK from next year to support a wide range of operations.
What is Versius?
Versius has been built to assist with robotic surgery and is a competitor of the American system, da Vinci. Currently, da Vinci is used in more than 70 UK hospitals. However, Versius offers the advantage of being smaller, more versatile and flexible. Furthermore, the modular arms are quick and easy to set up. This means it can be used in more operations and help to drive cost-saving and increase productivity across hospitals.
The robotic surgery system, Versius, has two modular arms. These are much like human arms with flexible joints. A surgeon can then control the arms thanks to a 3D screen and two joysticks. Robotic surgery focuses on keyhole surgery, using small incisions and special instruments to be less invasive to the patient.
Another benefit of Versius is the fact the increased dexterity it provides. Many surgeons struggle with suturing. Furthermore, it can take over 80 hours to teach. However, it will take just 30 minutes to teach suturing with Versius.
The rise of robotic surgery
The American system, da Vinci, has dominated the market since 2001. This is thanks to unique patents that the organisation, Intuitive Surgical, hold. However, these patents have now expired, enabling more competitors to enter the field of robotic surgery.
As well as the Versius by CMR Surgical, Google and Johnson & Johnson are teaming up to develop Verb Surgical robots. Their robots will be connected to the internet so that devices can learn from each other. Medtronic is also releasing a robotic surgery system in 2020.
It is widely believed that in the future, many surgical robots will be able to do parts of the surgery independently, reducing the pressures on surgeons.
Now, Versius is waiting for European health and safety approval before aiming to be a cost-competitive rival to da Vinci for the NHS.