Virtual Incision Performs Miniaturized Robot Surgery in Nebraska

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August 16, 2021

Virtual Incision Corporation, a medical device company that is developing miniaturized robots for laparoscopic surgery, has announced its first surgery using the Miniaturized In Vivo Robotic Assistant (MIRA) surgical platform. The successful operation was performed by Dr. Michael A. Jobst, at Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, Neb.

The robotically assisted right hemicolectomy procedure, which was completed using the MIRA platform via a single incision within the navel, was performed as part of a clinical study of MIRA under an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The company said the study will be conducted at a limited number of U.S. hospitals in support of the system’s regulatory pathway to approval.

“The MIRA platform is a true breakthrough platform for general surgery, and it is extremely gratifying to be the first surgeon in the world to use the system,” said Dr. Jobst. “The procedure went smoothly, and the patient is recovering well. I’m excited to play a part in taking the first steps toward increasing access to robotically assisted surgery, which has clear benefits for patients.’

The MIRA platform is a portable robot that lets surgeons perform real-time minimally invasive single-incision surgeries without the need for the dedicated space or infrastructure typically required for “mainframe” robotic systems, the company said. Weighing only two pounds, the miniature platform has full robotic capabilities, and can easily be moved from room to room. The system is designed to enable complex, multi-quadrant abdominal surgeries using a simple, handheld device, Virtual Incision said.

The company added that many hospitals looking to offer robotic surgeries face challenges with scheduling because the demand exceeds the number of available robots. Capital costs often prohibit hospitals from buying additional platforms. Virtual Incision said MIRA aims to present a cost-effective option that will expand access to more patients.

“We are ushering in a new era of innovation to bring the benefits of robotic surgery to a broad range of facilities, with the goal of providing access to patients everywhere, said John Murphy, CEO of Virtual Incision. “This first procedure is an incredible milestone that further advances our goal to expand access to the benefits of minimally invasive robotic procedures to patients to virtually any U.S. healthcare provider, regardless of distance from an urban center. We look forward to expanding our clinical trial to additional sites and states in the coming months.”

The company said it is focused on expanding access to minimally invasive colorectal and lower gastrointestinal procedures, which occur in more than 400,000 surgeries performed every year. Although technological advances and improved patient outcomes have reduced the total cost of care, the adoption of minimally invasive colon resection has been limited.

“The aim of creating a miniature robotic platform has always been to enable surgical teams to perform with greater operating room efficiency and surgical precision,” said Dr. Dmitry Oleynikov, chief medical officer and co-founder of Virtual Incision. “Today we saw firsthand the benefits that a robotic assisted platform can provide over conventional surgery.”

The company said it has also begun developing a family of procedure-specific mini-robots for additional operations, potentially enabling millions more surgical procedures each year. The company said it currently holds more than 200 patents and applications. For more details on the system, visit the Virtual Incision website here.

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