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Product launch

Mechanical laparoscopic device improves precision and dexterity

FlexDex technology's will lead to a wider adoption of advanced MIS across several surgical specialties, considerably reducing the surgeon-training time and lowering overall cost, and extending the benefits of MIS to a larger portion of the population

A new minimally invasive surgery (MIS) technology developed by University of Michigan start-up, FlexDex Surgical, provides high dexterity and intuitive control in an affordable and ergonomic design, enabling surgeons in smaller hospitals to benefit from the articulation and precision that are currently only performed by a US$2 million robotic system at large medical centres.

The MIS device is mounted to a surgeon's arm and locates the device’s centre of rotation at the surgeon’s wrist, enabling the tip of the instrument to mimic the movements of the surgeon's hand (Image 1).

Image 1: during a hernia repair, the MIS device is mounted to a surgeon's arm and locates the device’s centre of rotation at the surgeon’s wrist, enabling the tip of the instrument to mimic the movements of the surgeon's hand.

According to the company, the all-mechanical platform has been hailed as a breakthrough in both surgery and engineering and uses a unique engineering approach to provide wrist-like dexterity and intuitive control, which are necessary for complex laparoscopic tasks such as suturing and knot-tying. This enhanced functionality has so far been seen only in multi-million dollar surgical robots.

The FlexDex mission is to provide a wider adoption of advanced MIS across several surgical specialties, considerably reducing the surgeon-training time and lowering overall cost, thus extending the benefits of MIS to a larger portion of the population.

“Our mission is to democratise minimally invasive surgery and expand its use around the US and the world” says Shorya Awtar, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Co-Inventor of FlexDex. "FlexDex provides the functionality of robots at the cost of traditional hand-held laparoscopic instruments. We've disrupted the paradigm where surgeons and hospitals had to choose between high cost/high function and low cost/low function."

FlexDex Surgical’s first product, the Needle Driver, has been available in the US since early this year and has been used in several laparoscopic and thoracic procedures, including hernia repairs, hysterectomies, and prostate removal surgeries. The device is now being shipped to hospitals across the US and select international markets.

FlexDex is preparing to launch the product in Europe and other areas of the world, subject to receiving CE approval expected in early 2018. FlexDex also plans to release additional instruments for its platform in the coming year.

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