Towards Scarless and Incisionless Surgery: The Dream Comes True
Hong Kong, August 7, 2018 – Hong Kong-based MedTech startup NISI (HK) Limited (NISI), a pioneer in scarless surgical robotic innovations, today announced the successful completion of a series of World’s First complex abdominal and pelvic robotic surgeries through a natural orifice in live pigs, performed by eminent clinical professors from Hong Kong. This was achieved using NISI’s revolutionary surgical robotic system, which incorporates miniaturized robotic arms and a novel forward and reverse robotic anchorage mechanism that was specially designed for NOTES (Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery), allowing complex surgeries and removal of bulky tumors via natural orifices, and without the need for abdominal incisions.
For decades, surgeons and gynecologists worldwide have dreamt of being able to perform abdominal and pelvic surgical procedures without the need to make abdominal incisions. However, available surgical robotic systems have many limitations, including the need for multiple incisions, an additional large incision for the removal of tissue, and lack of haptic (force sensation) feedback. In 2016, NISI announced the successful completion of a series of single-incision robotic cholecystectomy procedures in live pigs with its first-generation single-port surgical robotic system, along with the company’s vision to further miniaturize the system to achieve incisionless NOTES surgery.
Today’s announcement marks NISI’s successful achievement of this vision, and a major milestone towards scarless and incisionless NOTES robotic surgery. This revolutionary second generation surgical robotic system is specially designed to perform complex abdominal and pelvic NOTES procedures, with miniaturized robotic arms that naturally imitate the complex movements of the surgeon’s arms, wrists and fingers. Furthermore, the robotic arms have eight in-vivo degrees of freedom that enables the surgeon to operate with high precision and flexibility to overcome pelvic anatomy when surgery is performed through the rectum or vagina. A dual camera system provides both panoramic view and full HD 3D view for close surveillance of the operative field to prevent inadvertent organ injuries. The system also incorporates haptic feedback to improve the touch sensation for the surgeon and reduce the risk of injury to organs and soft tissue of the patient.
NISI has successfully completed a series of complex abdominal and gynecological NOTES procedures, including cholecystectomy (removal of gall bladder), total cystectomy (removal of urinary bladder) and total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes) in live pigs. All specimens were retrieved via the same natural orifice and without the need to make any additional incisions in the abdominal wall, thereby resulting in completely scarless surgeries.
Professor Chung-Kwong Yeung, Honorary Clinical Professor in Surgery at The University of Hong Kong (HKU) , Chairman and Chief Technology Officer of NISI, commented: “As a surgeon, this is a long-time dream come true. Our achievements demonstrate the genuine possibility of making scarless and incisionless surgeries via natural orifices a reality. This groundbreaking innovation should revolutionize future abdominal and pelvic surgeries and make non-invasive surgical procedures a commonplace reality. Patients worldwide will benefit from this new technology with much less surgical trauma and fewer wound complications.”
Scarless natural orifice surgery offers significant benefits to patients by reducing pain, shortening recovery time and alleviating concerns about scarring. Professor Hextan Yuen-Sheung Ngan, Chair Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at HKU, said: “This pioneering surgical robotic innovation, if proven on further pre-clinical and clinical testing, has the potential to benefit a select group of gynecology patients.” Dr Dominic Chi-chung Foo, Specialist in General Surgery, said he has “performed robotic-assisted trans-rectal gall bladder removal successfully in adult male pigs. I look forward to continuing trials of the new robotic system in animal and human cadaver models for a larger range of more complex procedures. The potential promise of less patient trauma and reduced hospital stays could bring about better care as well as save valuable health care resources.”
David T. Wong, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NISI, said: “Our achievement illustrates the great opportunities in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. In just over six years we have successfully achieved many world firsts by combining Hong Kong’s world class medical expertise with leading international skills, talents and technologies. We have received funding from the Innovation and Technology Commission of Hong Kong and have grown to a team of more than 100 professionals from multi-disciplinary backgrounds from Hong Kong and overseas. We are working on a lot more, so watch this space.”
Artificial intelligence for robotic surgery
NISI has also announced a new collaboration with the University of Cambridge (Cambridge) and world-leading computer-vision expert Professor Roberto Cipolla to pioneer artificial intelligence for robotic surgical applications.
Artificial intelligence will be an integral part of the next generation of medical devices by incorporating automation and enhanced precision. AI-assisted medical devices will help transform surgical procedures with higher accuracy and efficiency. Professor David Cardwell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Strategy and Planning at Cambridge, said: “The new collaboration will open up new horizons for NISI’s technological developments and strengthen and expand its ongoing, successful collaboration with Cambridge.”
(From left to right) Dr. Dominic Chi-Chung Foo, Specialist in General Surgery, The University of Hong Kong; Professor Hextan Yuen-Sheung Ngan, Chair Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Hong Kong; Professor Chung-Kwong Yeung, Honorary Clinical Professor in Surgery at The University of Hong Kong, Founder, Chairman and Chief Technical Officer, NISI; Professor David Cardwell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Strategy and Planning, University of Cambridge and David T. Wong, Founder, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NISI.
(Left to Right) Professor Joseph Wan-Yee Lau, Director, NISI; Professor Anthony Ting-Yuk Wu, Director, NISI; Professor Chung-Kwong Yeung, Honorary Clinical Professor in Surgery at The University of Hong Kong, Founder, Chairman and Chief Technical Officer, NISI; Nicholas W. Yang, GBS, JP, Secretary for Innovation and Technology; David T. Wong, Founder, Managing Director and CEO, NISI; Bun-Chak Poon, Director, NISI; and Leslie Chung, Director, NISI.
David T. Wong, Founder, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NISI (right) and Professor David Cardwell, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Strategy and Planning, University of Cambridge (left) signed research collaboration agreement on artificial intelligence for robotic surgical applications.
Professor Chung-Kwong Yeung, Honorary Clinical Professor in Surgery at The University of Hong Kong, Founder, Chairman and Chief Technical Officer demonstrated NISI’s revolutionary surgical robotic system that features a novel forward and reverse robotic anchorage mechanism, specially designed for pelvic surgical procedures.
NISI (HK) Limited (NISI) is a surgical innovation company, established in Hong Kong in 2012 to change the future of surgery by overcoming the accessibility, safety, efficacy, pain and financial limitations of existing surgical techniques.
The company was founded by Professor Chung-Kwong Yeung, a vastly experienced Hong Kong surgeon and pioneer in minimally-invasive surgical innovations; David T. Wong, a former investment banker and an entrepreneur; and a small group of like-minded people from Hong Kong. The Board of Directors includes Professor Steven Chu, a Nobel Laureate and former US Secretary of Energy; Professor Joseph Wan-Yee Lau, the current Chairman of the Medical Council of Hong Kong; and Professor Anthony Ting-Yuk Wu, former Chairman of the Hong Kong Hospital Authority.
For further information, please visit www.nisi.hk.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material do not reflect the views of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Innovation and Technology Commission, the ESS Assessment Panel or the Panel of Assessors for the Innovation and Technology Support Programme of the Innovation and Technology Fund.
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August 7, 2018