Last September, British surgeons performed the first ever robotic-assisted surgery in the eye, the removal of an epiretinal membrane. That was the beginning of their 12 person clinical trial and last week, they announced their results at ARVO.
In the trial, half of the patients underwent the traditional procedure and the other half underwent the new robotic technique. The patients in the robot group experienced significantly fewer hemorrhages and less damage to the retina.
Tell me more about the robot.
The robot, which acts like a mechanical hand, has seven motors and is able to filter out hand tremors from the surgeon. It’s named “Robotic Retinal Dissection Device”, or “R2D2” (yep, really).
One major advantage to robotic-assisted surgery is that it can pave the way for more delicate surgery, not currently possible by hand. The first part of the trial started with removing ERM’s but will move on to more complex procedures, like inserting a needle under the retina and injecting fluid. If this is successful, this could have huge applications with regards to targeted retinal gene therapy. (via)