Minimally invasive surgery is leading the future in creating better surgical outcomes. With minimally invasive procedures, the same operations that once required a very large incision can now be performed with one miniature incision, which can greatly decrease patient recovery times, pain, and the potential for complications.
Large surgical incisions can create a great deal of pain and immobility while requiring lengthy hospital stays. With minimally invasive surgeries, most patients feel minimal discomfort, and some even feel as though they haven’t had an operation. Patients can often go home on the same day and resume their normal activities almost immediately.
Typically, the more complicated an operation is, the more difficult it is to perform the procedure through tiny incisions. Attempting single-incision surgery in these cases can make surgeons feel as though they are trying to operate with very imprecise instruments—potentially affecting confidence and even patient outcomes.
This is where robotic surgery has helped fill the gap. By providing surgeons with the precise tools they need to perform intricate operations, they are able to perform minimally invasive surgery for more complicated cases.
There are some easy and simple operations, such as removing an appendix or gall bladder, that use easy techniques, which surgeons learn quickly because they perform them often and get lots of practice. But many other operations are more complicated to perform with laparoscopic or minimally invasive techniques. For those surgeries, a surgeon needs advanced tools, techniques, and capabilities.
Surgeons are discovering that robotics help give them the ability to learn complicated surgical techniques and to become good at the surgeries despite performing them infrequently. They can do this while giving the patient a smaller incision with fewer risks of complications, like infections and hernias.
Small Device, Big Benefits
The current surgical robots in use are extremely large and require multiple incisions, while the MIRA platform is designed to enable surgeons to perform the entire procedure through a single abdominal incision.
Just as technology is advancing rapidly in other fields, as seen by our smarter and smaller cell phones, surgical robotic technology is also becoming smaller and more cost-effective. It’s similar to how flat-screen TVs used to be much heavier, and now they are thinner, lighter, and less expensive.
Current mainframe robotic platforms require:
- A dedicated team trained for robot-assisted surgery
- Facility renovations to accommodate the large platforms
- Structures that must withstand the weight of thousands of pounds
- Millions of dollars
MIRA is a small, smart, and simple portable platform that:
- Works within existing spaces
- Is easily transported
- Requires fewer team members
- Is affordable
MIRA is so small you can place it in a surgical tray and carry it from room to room as needed. It takes very little time to turn on and get running, with very little additional support needed. It’s as simple as putting it through an incision and getting to work.
MIRA has a pair of eyes on the system, much like a surgeon, along with a left and right arm. This allows the surgeon to use his own left and right arm to enable the MIRA platform to accomplish the specific task it’s pre-built for.
The initial application of MIRA is for colon surgery, but a family of MIRA platforms, each designed for specific types of surgeries, is in the works. And that’s the beauty of a cost-effective system—each device can be tailored for a specific purpose while still offering hospitals an affordable solution.
Focusing On Bringing Minimally Invasive Surgery To A Great Number Of Surgery Centers
Having robotic surgery used to mean that you had to be in the hospital to have access to the big, expensive platforms. Those large systems can be complex, difficult to maintain, and surgery centers often can’t afford them.
Because the MIRA system is small, easy to maintain, it will be able to be placed in out-patient settings giving access to patients apart from the hospital.
The MIRA platform will also work well in a hospital setting where it can perform an operation that would normally require a week-long stay and convert it to a one or two-day stay. Additionally, MIRA should be able to complement hospitals with existing robotic systems by enabling this technology to be in every operating room.
MIRA was designed with the goal of being both simple and intuitive, requiring very little setup. MIRA aspires to save the setup team up to 26 minutes since it doesn’t need to be draped or docked. Since it does not require a dedicated robotic surgery team, surgeons should be able to walk into the room and begin operating in minutes. Surgeons may also be able to operate at a patient’s bedside.
Furthermore, MIRA should not require repositioning mid-surgery. In many colorectal procedures, for example, mainframe surgical robotic systems must be repositioned midway through the procedure to reach the four quadrants of the abdominal cavity. This undocking and redocking can take around 11 minutes of valuable OR time.
Because the MIRA Platform will not require the same level of investment as larger robotic mainframes, it seems likely many facilities will be able to utilize more than one. If multiple MIRA Platforms are available, system downtime may be eliminated during room cleaning and turnover, which has the potential to save as much as 33 minutes of operative time.
At the completion of a MIRA procedure, the companion cart could be transported to the next procedure and commenced with the second MIRA while the first MIRA is cleaned. This would allow for a greater number of minimally invasive procedures to be performed in one day—reducing patient wait time and increasing profitability for the facility.
Revolutionizing Minimally Invasive Surgery
Hospitals currently have a very limited number of large surgery platforms readily available, causing many patients to have to wait longer for surgery. This is problematic for patients with gastrointestinal cancers or acute infections that require emergency care. MIRA has the potential to be a great complementing platform to existing robotic mainframes, seeking to further reduce the time patients have to wait for surgery.
Our vision is to see MIRA not just in large hospitals but in small community hospitals, academic medical centers, and in ambulatory surgery centers. Its minimal footprint is designed to make single-incision procedures an option for many more patients.
MIRA is poised to transform the field of surgery by making minimally invasive surgery more widely available, increasing throughput, reducing costs, and improving patient outcomes.