Da Vinci Surgical System I.

The following posts will be about the famous da Vinci system, the only complete teleoperation surgical robot currently available. It is also remarkable that the developer and producer Intuitive Surgical Inc. is the only profitable company in the field. They went to NASDAQ in 2004 at 15USD price (ISRG), and went up to 310 in summer 2008. They made 144 M USD net income in 2007 (out of 600M sales), doubling their 2006 results, but they are still on the way to pay back the total 500 M USD investment needed to develop the da Vinci robot.
The history of the development goes back to the late ‘70s when the idea of surgical robotics was born. Inspired by the great possibilities of telesurgery, NASA made some plans, but never financed a real development project. Later, around 1994, they built a pilot system, the Robot Assisted MicroSurgery (RAMS). The robot showed great capabilities, but unfortunately in the late’90s the project was stopped due to the lack of funding (and is still sitting untouched in a lab at JPL).
The DARPA decided to invest into the area, and in the early ‘90s promising technologies emerged. Primarily, SRI was investigating the feasibility of telesurgery with master-slave manipulators with stereo vision feedback. In the mid ‘90s, they licensed the master manipulator design of Madhani along with many other patents (e.g. the RCM robot concept developed by Taylor et al. at IBM) and founded Intuitive Surgical Inc. Akhil Madhani had the idea in 1993 watching an episode of the M*A*S*H to develop a surgical robot. He created the Black Falcon as his thesis work working under Prof. Salisbury in the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the MIT. This tendon driven robot became the prototype of the da Vinci arms.
By 1997 the first prototype Lenny was ready for animal trials, at Intuitive, and next, Mona was madefor the very first human trials tooking place in the Saint-BlasiusHospital, Dendermonde, Belgium in March 1997 (Vascular & Gynecologic surgeries). As the system was intended primarily for cardio-vascular surgeries, specific clinical trials were performed in Paris and Leipzig in May 1998. Based on the initial experiences, the market ready version of the robot (da Vinci) got advanced control and ergonomic features compared to the Mona, and final tests began in 1999.
Eventually, the FDA approved the system for general laparoscopic surgery (gallbladder, gastroesophageal reflux and gynecologic surgery) in July 2000, and Thoracoscopic Surgery and Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy in 2002, followed by many other 510K approvals.
As soon as the da Vinci was out, Intuitive continued with perfection the system, and the new generation, the da Vinci-S got ready in 2005. The next post will tell more about the new features.
Source of pictures: Simon DiMaio, Practicalities: Tele-Robotic Surgery and the daVinci System


maYk said…
yes, Da Vinci Surgical System is highly effective in these days. www.mygynexam.com
Kathy Thompson said…
Despite the benefits stated inside the research of Intuitive Surgical, Corporation, however, many doctors aren't convinced to take advantage from the da vinci surgical system. These surgeons report that the surgical system’s so referred to as benefits are essentially marketing techniques created by the manufacturer to lure customers, which you'll find no scientific evidence to assist such claims. According to them, traditional surgery continues to be safer option
Alexi Davenport said…
Telesurgery is such an exciting subject! I have only recently heard about the Da Vinci system, but I want to learn more about it. By the way the stocks shot up by 295 so quickly, I'd say it's a worthy place to invest for the future. It will be interesting to see where it goes in the future.
Alexi | http://oldfarmobgyn.com/services/da-vinci-surgical-system/

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