Market: Robotic assisted surgeries are on the rise, up from
generally 20,000 robotic assisted procedures in the United States in 2005, to
80,000 robotic assisted prostatectomy procedures alone in 2009. Such robotic
assisted surgeries allow for greater precision, smaller incisions and therefore
less patient blood loss and quicker patient recovery, but require a highly
skilled robotic operator for efficient implementation. Prices of existing
surgical systems range from $700,000 to $2.25 million per system, and their
presence in hospitals has increased by more than 400% since 2004.
Competitors and Current Problems: In austere battlefield
environments, acute hemorrhage accounts for 50% of soldier fatalities and is the
primary cause of death in 30% of injured soldiers who die from wounds.
Currently, the most traditionally-used routes for fluid delivery involve either
intravenous cannulation with flexible catheters or intra-osseous access with
rigid intra-osseous needles, but even though such procedures have proven
effective and reliable in controlled hospital and pre-hospital environments,
their implementation into remote areas and/or the battlefield is greatly
impaired due to the lack of available trained surgeons, the tactical combat
conditions, and the remote and hostile nature of the battlefield environment
itself, which make obtaining vascular access difficult, even for the
best-trained surgeons. These complicated conditions call for the need for an
automated mechanism that is able to obtain vascular access in a fast, efficient,
and reliable manner by harnessing the enhanced precision and repeatability
robotic systems have over human surgeons.
The Technology: Researchers at UTHealth have developed a
device for automatically inserting a catheter or other medical implement into a
patient. The automated mechanism was designed to obtain vascular access for
administration of drugs and fluids in remote locations/to soldiers injured in
combat via the insertion of a catheter inside the femoral vein. Specifically, an
imaging module identifies a selected point of insertion on the patient and a
manipulator module positions a catheter or medical implement at the desired
position followed by insertion of the medical instrument into the patient. The
system may be implemented with much less training than current surgical robotic
systems. Prototypes have been fabricated and are currently being tested.
UTHealth Ref. No.:
Inventors: Charles Cox, Brijesh Gill, Raul
Longoria, et. al.
Patent Status: Provisional application
License Available: world-wide; exclusive or