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Breakthrough robotic system promises to revolutionize microsurgery

Robotic system from Europe will revolutionize microsurgery
Key Points
  • Medical Microinstruments launched its Symani Surgical System to assist in microsurgical procedures.
  • This robotic system enables surgeons to perform some of the most difficult surgeries with greater ease and less complications.
  • MMI hopes it will become the standard in microsurgery and soon become available in the U.S.

In this article

A new robotic system aims to revolutionize how doctors perform some of the most complex surgeries.

The Italian based company, Medical Microinstruments, developed the Symani Surgical System for open microsurgical procedures. Microsurgery is the manipulation or suturing of anatomy such as arteries, veins, ducts or nerves requiring magnification, specialized instruments, and a surgeon's fine motor skills.

This surgery is referred to as supermicrosurgery when the vessels are smaller than 0.8 mm in diameter. Microsurgical techniques are used by several specialties including plastic surgeons, orthopedic surgery, podiatric surgery, and oral surgery.

MMI's NanoWrist instruments holding a 10-0 suture.

In microsurgery, the smallest of complications can have the largest consequences. Even the slightest hand tremor or fatigue can disrupt a procedure. The Symani Surgical System offers the surgeon remote control over the world's smallest wristed instrumentation, the NanoWrist instruments. The hand motions performed by the surgeon are scaled down 7 to 20x by the robotic system. Preclinical data shows Symani reduces thrombosis by 50%. Thrombosis — the formation of blood clots — is the main complication of microsurgery.

Symani received CE Mark in Europe, the equivalent of FDA approval, before completing four successful surgeries in Florence, Italy: three complex, post-traumatic lower-limb reconstructions and a post-oncological reconstruction of the pharynx. MMI hopes to have the system available in the United States soon. The entire systems costs 900,000 euro or approximately $1.06 million.

MMI's complete Symani Surgical System including cart, console and NanoWrist instruments.

This system is the culmination of six years of work. MMI first developed the NanoWrist instruments and then developed the robotics to control the instruments. MMI told CNBC that this system aims to allow more surgeons access to these advanced surgical procedures and allow surgeons to perform procedures that are near impossible today.

MMI's NanoWrist instruments manipulating a sunflower.

In MMI's press release, Hannah Teichmann, an MMI co-founder and vice president of clinical development, said: "We are proud to bring this innovation to European patients and look forward to enabling surgeons worldwide to address challenging procedures on extremely small anatomy with increased precision, reproducibility and efficiency."

In addition to Teichmann, MMI was founded in 2015 by CEO Giuseppe Prisco and Massimiliano Simi, vice president of R&D. The company's mission is to "usher in the next frontier in surgical robotics by enabling new robotic-assisted microsurgery procedures that provide improved outcomes for patients affected by trauma, cancer or congenital malformations, and those suffering from chronic conditions such as lymphedema."

Watch the video above to find out more about MMI's robotic system.

Correction: This story incorrectly reported the timing of the Symani Surgical System's regulatory approval in Europe. Symani received approval before completing four successful surgeries. The story also misstated who founded the company. Massimiliano Simi is also a co-founder.