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1,000 operations completed with CMR Surgical’s Versius robot

A surgeon has told how CMR Surgical’s Versius robot is going to offer significant “benefits to mankind” after the 1,000 operation was performed with the system.

The Impington-based company confirmed that it had reached the milestone on a broad range of procedures - from hysterectomies to complex cholecystectomies - at sites across Europe and Asia.

Versius robot, from CMR Surgical, has been used in more than 1,000 operations, it was confirmed in November 2020
Versius robot, from CMR Surgical, has been used in more than 1,000 operations, it was confirmed in November 2020

The robotic system was first used in India, which is renowned for its laparoscopic, or keyhole, surgery.

Professor Dr Raj Nagarkar, from HCG Manavata Cancer Centre, India who recently completed the 1000th clinical case, said he could not be “prouder and happier”.

“Since the introduction of Versius at our centre in the last year, we have conducted over 300 robotic assisted surgeries, including complex cancer resection.

“We are seeing clear patient benefits including reduced pain, and length of stay.

“Additionally, the open console means I can operate comfortably, helping to reduce physical tiredness from surgery.

“The adaptability and dexterity of Versius means it can be adopted by hospitals around the world – ultimately benefiting many patients.”

Laparoscopic surgery reduces the size of the incision needed to operate. But it has proved challenging for some surgeons to learn.

Versius was developed to biomic the movement of the human arm and is controlled by surgeons via a console and screen.

“As far as the patient is concerned, obviously there is less pain, less bleeding and less risk of infection,” said Prof Nagarkar.

“I feel we need to elaborate on the advantages to the surgeon. Without being glued to the console, I could comfortably relax in a chair and operate. I have done six robotic-assisted procedures in one single day, without getting tired, myself.”

He said the system was “going to be a big advantage and for the benefit to mankind in the years to come”.

In February, it was announced that Versius - developed to biomimic the movement of the human arm - had been used by two NHS hospitals in the UK for minimal access surgery (MAS). The Western General Hospital in Edinburgh was first, followed by Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Trust in Buckinghamshire.

Investors have heavily backed CMR Surgical’s innovative technology, taking its valuation to unicorn status.

But the company has rolled out the robotic system in a deliberate and careful fashion, capturing surgical cases within its clinical registry to ensure patient safety and support surgical standards over the long term.

Combining Versius with a digital ecosystem will provide surgeons with data-driven insights.

Mark Slack, chief medical officer of CMR Surgical, said: “It is fantastic to be working with surgeons to successfully perform over 1,000 surgeries globally – an important milestone as we bring MAS to patients around the world.

“We always set out to introduce Versius responsibly, and by using the clinical registry alongside our system, we are able to continuously analyse the growing data we have and share insights with the surgical community so that we can work together to deliver the best surgical care.”

Versius is smaller and more portable than some other well-established robotic systems, meaning it can be used in more than one operating theatre in a hospital, improving its cost-effectiveness.

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