Distalmotion and Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) have announced that the world’s first hybrid robotic colorectal procedure – a rectopexy – was performed by Professor Dieter Hahnloser and Dr Fabian Grass, utilising Distalmotion’s Dexter hybrid robotic surgery system, its first clinical use in general surgery.
“We have come full circle, from the validation of Dexter’s hybrid approach through countless test-runs, to launching a clinical study where the first procedure was carried out without complications and with the desired patient outcomes,” explained Hahnloser. “This is a paradigm shift in how we approach robotic surgery. The hybrid approach means surgeons remain sterile throughout the course of an operation, thus bringing them back into the sterile field, with direct access to their patients and teams. This also optimises teamwork dynamics and unlocks new training opportunities in the OR.”
Distalmotion and CHUV also announced the launch of a clinical study. The Division for Visceral Surgery at CHUV, run by Professor Nicolas Demartines, Chair of the Department of Surgery, will study and evaluate Dexter’s clinical benefits in colorectal surgery, and also provide input in the development of procedure guidelines and training protocols for hybrid robotic surgery with Dexter. The CHUV is thereby set to become a global reference centre for hybrid robotic surgery.
The traditional (non-hybrid) approach to surgical robotics forces surgeons to choose between manual laparoscopy and robotics – forcing them to weigh a trade-off in minimising the perceived downsides of foregoing either technique. Dexter corrects this false dichotomy. Dexter surgeons can choose freely which steps of a procedure they carry out laparoscopically, and for which steps to employ robotic aid, thus maximising the benefits of each technique.
“The hybrid approach overcomes prior constraints and allows us to leverage the best of both techniques: laparoscopy and robotics. With this approach minimally invasive surgery may become more broadly accessible in our field,” added Grass. “The concept of hybrid robotic surgery caters to our specific needs, as surgeons, and in some sense, was conceived to put us back in the driver’s seat. The first case quickly showed that the Dexter system delivers on this objective, catering to our specific requirements, being akin to the clinical realities in the OR, while also allowing us to unfold our individual preferences and teamwork dynamics.”