Fantastic Voyage for Surgery

Shrinking the Surgeon into the Body

By Dr. Nick van Terheyden aka Dr. Nick
Twitter: @drnic1
Host of Dr. Nick: The Incrementalist#TheIncrementalist

On this episode I talked to Adam Sachs (@AdamSachsVS), CEO and Co-Founder of Vicarious Surgical (@vicarioussurg) a company that is rethinking surgery. Adam is a mechanical engineer by training who studied at MIT focusing on biomedical
engineering and robotics. This is where he met his co-founders Sammy Khalifa, Dr. Barry Green.

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They came together to solve some fundamental challenges with surgical approaches that struggles with rigid approaches that are stuck in limited dimensions and with tools that hinder capabilities. Their concept in part was modeled on the movie Fantastic Voyage which miniaturizes a ship and injects it into the human body.

Sounds to far fetched – not for this company that is approaching this problem not by miniaturization of people but rather a novel approach to robotic design and taking a fresh look at the way in which robots can be used for surgery. Through the experience of their co-founder they saw the difficulties faced by surgeons who use laparoscopic tools to achieve great progress in outcomes but with limits. As described by one commentator, it is as if you put the cardboard tube found on the inside of kitchen paper over the length of your arm from shoulder to wrists and then operated that way.

Adam shares the details of the various forms of surgery and what various robotic tools have brought to improve the experience with an incremental insight of their decoupled actuator technology that brings a whole new capability to their robotic surgical device. Unlike many approaches to innovation Vicarious Surgical believes that you cannot fix the problems in software and solutions must be found in hardware innovation.

Listen in to hear the inspiration for one of their incredible advances in robotic approaches that allows for 9 degrees of freedom through a single approach point. The multiple areas of technology that they have advanced from actuators to cables and beyond.

“Our robotic solution has arms that replicate human motion, offering remarkable mobility. Our robot can see, reach, and work anywhere inside the abdomen, which effectively shrinks the surgeon and puts her/him inside the human body.”

About the Show
For years Dr. Nick van Terheyden aka Dr. Nick, has served as a voice on the impact of new technologies on healthcare, earning a reputation as a leading authority on where the future of medicine is going. Combining powers of observation and real world experience, Dr. Nick has seen many predictions come true and makes the case that innovations in healthcare can be accomplished incrementally, not just by moonshot events. Tune in to hear Dr. Nick: The Incrementalist and his guests discuss what the future of healthcare looks like, how we will get there, and what it will take to improve healthcare for all.

This article was originally published on the Dr. Nick – The Incrementalist blog and is republished here with permission.