Researchers in the US have developed a robotic arm that could drastically cut down the cost of performing complex, minimally invasive procedures, also known as laparoscopic surgery.
According to experts, minimally invasive procedures could lead to less trauma for patients and shorter recovery times after surgery.
The hand-held instrument developed at the University of Michigan in the US provided similar benefits as robot-assisted surgery, which lesser cost as against existing robotic surgical systems, the researchers said.
According to a university statement, the new $500 surgical instrument could take the place of a $2-million robot for certain minimally invasive procedures.
With the lower cost, rural hospitals would get new capabilities and other medical centres that could not afford more expensive systems would also be benefited.
According to Shorya Awtar, the technology afforded surgeons a higher degree of dexterity and intuitive control than traditional laparoscopic instruments, Awtar is associate professor of Mechanical Engineering at University of Michigan in the US.
The technology is based on US National Science Foundation-funded engineering research and was being commercialised by FlexDex Surgical.
FlexDex was co-founded by Awtar an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology – Kanpur, his University of Michigan colleague and surgery professor, James Geiger, and entrepreneur Greg Bowles.
The instrument, which costs only $500 might replace a $2-million robot for minimally invasive procedures, also known as laparoscopic surgery, according to researchers.
The lower cost could result in new capabilities for rural hospitals and other medical centres that could not afford more expensive systems.
''FlexDex provides the functionality of robots at the cost of traditional hand-held laparoscopic instruments. It will give surgeons a higher degree of dexterity and intuitive control than traditional laparoscopic instruments,'' said Awtar, PTI reported.
''Our mission is to democratise minimally invasive surgery and expand its use around the US and the world,'' he added.