FDA clears miniature surgical robot for needle-based procedures


Not all surgical robots have to be large octopus-like machines with multiple arms and tools – they can be small enough to do a specific job.

Enter Interventional Systems’ Micromate, a box-shaped motorized robot that attaches to the operating table and allows surgeons to perform image-guided percutaneous procedures remotely without exposure to the radiation that accompanies fluoroscopy or real-time computed tomography.

The Austrian device maker has received 510 (k) clearance from the FDA for its miniature machine, paving the way for the company to begin establishing a presence in the United States.

The Micromate is designed as a universal instrument guidance solution and works with a surgeon’s own equipment for almost all procedures conducted with a straight needle through the skin, such as guided biopsies and ablations.

Using a joystick, the surgeon can align and guide the needle from outside the operating room. In fact, Micromate is small enough to fit between the patient and surrounding imaging equipment.

The Micromate (Interventional Systems)

RELATED: Microbot Medical Unveils Disposable Device For Remote Catheter Procedures

“After a successful start with our partners in Europe and [with] Over 10 years of experience in medical robotics, we decided it was time for us to reach the other side of the pond, ”Company founder and CEO Michael Vogele said in a statement. “We are sure that our product is intended to democratize robotic medicine in the United States”

Interventional Systems said it plans to deploy its device in the second half of this year through centers of excellence and third-party business partnerships for robot-guided procedures.

Similar efforts by companies such as Microbot Medical aim to do the same for catheter procedures to save surgeons the radiation exposure and physical stress of standing over a patient for hours.

Microbot’s Liberty machine is designed to attach to a patient’s thigh for neurovascular and cardiovascular procedures by pushing and guiding a catheter via a portable remote control, much like a video game controller. The device gave positive results in the first feasibility studies on animals in January.


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