Robots at your fingertips

In Montpellier, surgeons and roboticists are working together to develop tools for minimizing surgical trauma: "minimally invasive surgery" that brings together centres of maximum expertise.
It's every surgeon's dream: to operate with minimal physical impact on the patient. A dream that is now taking concrete form in the form of robots with multiple arms. The most famous of these, the da Vinci, has three. " This interface between doctor and patient enables less invasive microsurgery operations "explains one of the surgeons who uses this technique at CHRURenaud Garrel, head of the oncology and laryngology medical teams and professor at the University of Montpellier.

Reducing the impact of interventions

Tiny incisions, or no incisions at all: that's what the robot makes possible, as it can access internal organs via natural pathways and arteries. "The advantages are many: no scarring, less pain and complications, shorter hospital stays ", summarizes Renaud Garrel.
What's more, robotic assistance also offers radically new functionalities. " This electronic interface can integrate a variety of information, such as scanner images or navigation indications: a virtual or augmented reality that provides the surgeon with invaluable decision-making tools ".

Training the surgeons of tomorrow

To improve these assistance systems, Renaud Garrel has been working for several years with Philippe Poignet, head of the robotics department at the Montpellier Laboratory of Computer Science, Robotics and Microelectronics (LIRMM) and professor at the UM. This collaboration recently took the form of a 6-month internship offered to 3 interns in the ICT and Health Master's program.
These young surgeons are hosted at LIRMM for experiments carried out on the Raven system, a robot financed by the CNRS and the Region, which offers the advantage of being entirely modifiable unlike the da Vinci system. Their mission: "to test the system's limits, and devise improvements and alternatives," explains Philippe Poignet. They bring us their knowledge of the surgical gesture, and it's up to us to invent the robotic translation of this gesture... In other words, tools at the cutting edge of innovation, whose design must in particular integrate requirements for total operating safety ".
By assessing practitioners' expectations, LIRMM roboticists will be able to help design the robots of tomorrow. But also to train future surgeons. In fact, this collaboration will soon become part of Montpellier's future medical faculty: the worksite, currently under construction, plans to house an LIRMM team within the future medical pedagogy training platform.