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Prosurgics’ FreeHand, a robotic camera controller for keyhole surgery, will be on display at The Hunterian Museum at England’s Royal College of Surgeons ‘Sci-Fi Surgery: Medical Robots’ exhibition running 8 September 2009 to 23 December 2009.  The exhibition explores medical robotics from sci-fi fantasy to current day reality and future developments.  Lord Darzi, UK Government advisor on health and Professor of Surgery at Imperial College London, will open the exhibition on 7 September. 

FreeHand is Prosurgics’ latest robotic system launched in February 2009 and already used in seven countries across Europe.  In Germany, Clinical Director: CA Dr. Med. Mike Lehsnau, of Havellandklinik Nauen, says of FreeHand:

“ We are delighted. Our new robotic camera holder, FreeHand is contributing to a shorter procedure time of 20 – 30% of the laparoscopic surgery.

It is replacing the camera holding assistant and ensures a rock steady image. In addition to that, communication issues between surgeon and camera assistant belong to the past.”

FreeHand is suitable for use in all laparoscopic or minimally invasive procedures.  The first colorectal surgeries in the USA were performed earlier this year at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.  Surgeons Dr Marc Brand and Dr Theodore Saclarides successfully completed three laparoscopic hemi-colectomies using FreeHand.  Dr Brand said:

“A laparoscopic colectomy is uniquely challenging in that a wide field of view is required, from the ribs to the pelvis.  FreeHand provided visual coverage of the entire area.  It also gave me control so that I did not have to interrupt dissection to reposition the camera or tell a person holding the camera what to do; returning control of the camera view to the surgeon allows for the image to lead the procedure instead of follow it.  It’s like having an extra pair of hands.”

FreeHand is an affordable 7kg robotic device that gives surgeons direct control of the laparoscopic camera via a small, lightweight hands-free controller worn on the surgeon’s head.  Gentle head movements permit precise scope positioning.  It provides a rock-steady image and faster surgery after a very rapid learning curve.  FreeHand can reduce surgery time, which reduces costs and benefits patients. 

Mr Peter Sedman, tutor in minimally invasive surgery techniques at the Royal College of Surgeons, said of FreeHand: “Its simplicity and ease of use should make it accessible to the majority of surgeons and hospitals.”

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