Medical technology and surgical procedures are following a trend towards minimally invasive surgeries that reduce both patient risk and recovery time. Medical application solutions are being geared towards this trend, with technology and devices shrinking in size while still providing precision and power.

One such example of emerging medical technology is micro-precise surgery assistants. These extremely small units are capable of performing procedures and assisting surgeons, while their small size helps to reduce the need for open surgeries and still perform high precision operations with less chance for error. Minimally invasive procedures reduce scarring, trauma, and the chance for infection and bleeding.

Spinal Surgery Assistant

This particular device is used in spinal fusion and spinal interventions procedures. Known as the SpineAssist platform, it is fixed directly to a platform that rests on the patient’s spinal and is capable of performing procedures or guiding a surgeon in their operation. The use of CT scans for positioning and calibration allows a remote procedure to be performed without an operation surgery to establish a site line on the spine. This completely reduces the severity of spinal procedures and helps to increase the accuracy of incisions and implants.

This robotic assistant enables high precisions procedures with a smaller number of fine incisions. The overall improvement in accuracy also reduces the potential for misplacement of spinal implants. Also, the robot only requires a few CT scanners, reducing the overall radiation exposure to a patient for the procedure.

The Technology That Makes It Possible

The entire operating unit is a cylinder that measures only 2 inches in diameter and 3 inches in height, which is roughly the same size as a soda can. The unit only weighs half a pound and is able to provide accuracy up to 1.5 millimeters or 60 thousandths of an inch. This device is able to perform its duties in such a small package due to brushless DC micro-motors that provide high torque motion in an extremely compact model. The high precision is vital for spinal operations, where the abundance of major nerves means any slip can carry catastrophic consequences.

The system consists of a set of six DC micro-motors and seven sensors, one for each actuator and one to track the performance of the others, that coordinate all the movements of a robotic arm and ensure the proper location of any incisions or implants. An imaging software unit conveys information to a monitor, allowing for remote observation and control of the entire procedure. Using prior CT scans as a reference, the entire surgery can be planned out and then performed with high precision.

This type of miniaturized technology is leading the way in creating more effective surgical procedures. With the use of DC gearmotors and DC micro-motors, these medical devices do not have to sacrifice power in order to achieve high precision results with compact instruments. As healthcare continues to become more advanced, technology and robotics are opening new doors to advanced care options.


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