FE Exclusive | More competitors in robotics will lower costs, make procedures more accessible: Dr. Frederic Moll, ‘Father of Robotic Surgery’ | The Financial Express

FE Exclusive | More competitors in robotics will lower costs, make procedures more accessible: Dr. Frederic Moll, ‘Father of Robotic Surgery’

According to Dr. Moll, robotic surgeries can be a great help for deadly ailments like lung cancer as they can easily access all parts of the lung and detect cancer on time.

FE Exclusive | More competitors in robotics will lower costs, make procedures more accessible: Dr. Frederic Moll, ‘Father of Robotic Surgery’
Dr. Frederic Moll during the merger announcement event of SS Innovations and Avra Medical Robotics. (FE.com/Sushmita Panda)

The advancement in technology has transformed medical care. One such ‘gift’ of technological evolution is robotic surgery. Robotic surgery, also called robot-assisted surgery, is a method to perform surgery using very small tools attached to a robotic arm. Meanwhile, the surgeon controls the robotic arm with a computer.

Interestingly, the beginning of robotic surgery dates back to 1985 when the first robot to assist in surgery, Arthrobot, was developed and used for the first time in Vancouver.

In the subsequent year, more development of robotic systems was carried out by SRI International and Intuitive Surgical, founded by Dr. Frederic Moll, John Freund and Rob Younge with the introduction of the da Vinci Surgical System and Computer Motion with the AESOP and the ZEUS robotic surgical system.

In 1994, AESOP was introduced and it was considered a breakthrough in robotic surgery as it was the first laparoscopic camera holder to be approved by the FDA. In 2000, da Vinci obtained FDA approval for general laparoscopic procedures and became the first operative surgical robot in the US.

Dr. Frederic Moll, a medical device developer, and entrepreneur, specialises in the field of medical robotics and today he is known as the ‘Father of Robotic Surgery’.

ALSO READ | India’s medtech startup SSI merges with US-based Avra Medical Robotics to enter global market

On Thursday, Indian Medtech startup, SS Innovation announced that it has merged with Avra Medical Robotics, a Nasdaq-listed company in the United States, and during the announcement, Dr. Frederic Moll was also present and told Financial Express.com that players like SS Innovations are in the right path to make robotic procedures accessible and affordable.

In an exclusive conversation with Financial Express.com, Dr. Moll said that the evolution of robotic surgeries should be in such a way that it shouldn’t just make robots smarter but it should also be beneficial to clinicians and patients.

“Generally, the robotic system needs to evolve in a way so that more data that is collected by the robots…and it is used to make the procedure better…the performance of the robot better…the performance of the surgery better…so it is not just about the robots getting smarter…but the entire procedure will benefit from the data that is used in a that historically hasn’t been used to learn from outcomes, mistakes and avoid certain common things that can go wrong and adopt best practices in order to continuously improve,” Dr. Moll told Financial Express.com.

According to Dr. Moll, robotic surgeries can be a great help for deadly ailments like lung cancer as they can easily access all parts of the lung and detect cancer on time.

“Robotic surgeries, in general, can help in the treatment of lung cancers but specifically, lung cancer…it is really all about diagnosis and robots can be helpful by being able to easily access all parts of the lungs. It can be relatively challenging to get to certain areas of the lungs to make a diagnosis. With conventional procedures sometimes you are not able to see the problem quickly…so you wait and if you wait then you are just putting the patient at risk. Thorough diagnosis at an early stage is very important, especially in lung cancer which after a certain point can be very important,” Dr. Moll told Financial Express.com.

Dr. Moll also pointed out that liquid biopsy which is usually a blood-drawn test may become very important to diagnose cancer in the next few years.

On the affordability and accessibility of robotic procedures especially in countries like India, Dr. Moll told Financial Express.com: “I do think this is an important step because there is a true economic barrier for a lot of people to access high-end procedures like robotic surgery. So, I do think that cost is a challenge and that more competition means lower cost so I think this is a good thing. Companies like SS Innovations are taking a big step in this direction once that’s done then you know others will follow…this is the right pathway to beat down the cost which makes the procedure more accessible.”

ALSO READ | Delhi’s Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute gets first indigenously developed Surgical Robotic System, SSI-Mantra

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First published on: 18-11-2022 at 19:16 IST