Updates on the FLEX system
We have already reported on the story of FLEX from MedRobotics, the beautifully engineered snake structure originally aimed for cardiac procedures. Recently, the system gained CE mark - a clearance for European clinical application in otolaryngeal procedures.
"The Flex® System is the first robot-assisted flexible endoscopic platform for use during surgical procedures," said Samuel Straface, Ph.D., president and CEO of Medrobotics. “The system enables surgeons to access and visualize hard-to-reach anatomical locations and deploy specially designed flexible surgical instruments to perform procedures."
The Flex®System enables surgical procedures where conventional line-of-sight technologies are either not feasible or sub-optimal. Surgeons can navigate the Flex® Endoscope around anatomical structures to hard-to-reach locations through a single access site, then use the onboard high-definition vision system to precisely deploy a range of third party flexible surgical instruments. The uniquely “wristed” 3mm Flex® Instruments enable the surgeon to operate in confined spaces, further extending his or her reach to important and often challenging areas of the anatomy."
"Steered by a joystick, the device is designed to bend, but is also able to maintain its rigidity, thus combining the flexibility of endoscope with the stiffness of a laparoscope. The Flex employs a “follow the leader architecture,” that utilizes independent mechanical linkages that can be induced into rigid or limp states. As the snake enters a body orifice, the trailing mechanical linkages maintain the correct shape. Along with its dynamic structure, The Flex System is also equipped with a high definition camera on the tip, and “ports” on either side of the camera that can house various 3mm surgical tools for grasping or cutting tissue. The Flex System, the surgical tool “ports” are compatible with 3rd party instruments, which means a wider range of tools are compatible."
"According to GlobalData estimates, the Flexible endoscopes market in Europe was valued at $813.4m in 2012 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.9% to reach $1.06bn by 2019."