Ultramicrosurgery is a highly accurate form of reconstructive surgery designed to connect ultra-thin blood vessels to lymphatic tubes to restore their health function,media New Atlas reported. This requires strong expertise from some surgeons, but they may soon have a new robotic tool called Musa, which has successfully completed the first round of surgery.
Ultramicrosurgery is a relatively new medical technique focused on reconnecting blood vessels ranging in diameter from 0.3 mm to 0.8 mm. One of its main applications is to address lymphedema, which usually occurs after treatment for breast cancer and leads to swelling and local fluid retention. Given the delicate nature of the procedure, only a few surgeons are currently able to perform these operations.
Microsure, a Dutch start-up separated by Eindhoven Polytechnic University and Maastricht University Medical Center, has been working on a robot to perform the task of ultra-microsurgery. The robot, called Musa, is controlled by a surgeon, but can convert its hand movements into more precise movements of a group of robot hands.
The idea is that it can eliminate factors such as hand tremors or other subtle human movements and generally make the surgical process safer and easier to control. Last September, Musa performed the first robotic microsurgery on a human, stitching a set of fine blood vessels into the patient’s arm.
Dr Shan Qiu Shao, a plastic surgeon at Maastricht University Medical Center, said: “Microsure allows us to move very precisely during operations that require surgical microscopes. The robot allows us to operate on tiny lymphatic tubes and blood vessels while providing better results for these complex and labor-intensive operations. With Microsure robots, we can operate on containers of all sizes, which is very convenient. This is good news for patients. “
The team has now had its first success in a newly published study involving 20 patients with lymphedema who were randomly assisted by traditional hypermicrosurgery or Musa. The researchers re-evaluated the results of these operations one month and three months after the operation and found that Musa-assisted surgery improved the quality of life of patients.
The scientists note that the findings are promising for the future of ultra-microsurgery, but they point out that more multicenter trials are needed involving more patients and surgeons to verify the results.
The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.