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Surgical Robot Successfully Repairs Torn Porcine Cornea

Success of robotic microsurgery on pigs' eyes could clear procedure for trials in human patients

MONDAY, Jan. 1 (HealthDay News) -- The successful use of robotic microsurgery in an experimental model -- the repair of lacerated porcine corneas -- suggests the procedure may be safe to study in human patients, according to a report in the January issue of the British Journal of Ophthalmology. If successful, it could allow state-of-the-art surgery to be performed in remote areas without access to expert surgical care.

Angelo Tsirbas, M.D., of the University of California Los Angeles, and colleagues used a da Vinci surgical robot to perform bimanual three-dimensional ocular microsurgery on harvested porcine eyes positioned in a foam head on a regular operating room table.

Surgeons conducted the procedure using a video scope and three robotic arms, and placed sutures from the vantage of a console across the operating room. The procedure was successful. The robotic system allowed a good view, and made possible delicate and demanding maneuvers, such as placing sutures on the cornea.

"Robotic ocular microsurgery is technically feasible in the porcine model and warrants consideration for evaluation in controlled human trials to deploy functioning remote surgical centres in areas without access to state-of-the-art surgical skill and technology," the authors write.

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