Colorectal cancer is a malignancy that usually develops from a benign polyp into cancer gradually. While, screening by colonoscopy allows for the detection and removal of polyps, thereby helping both prevention and early detection sometimes, when colorectal polyps or other lesions are too large or complex to remove by colonoscopy, surgery is required.
Now, an innovative new option, a robotic scope from Medrobotics® called theFlex® Robotic System, that allows the physician to successfully remove lesions that cannot be removed by endoscopy, is available without the patient having to undergo surgery.
Now through a collaboration between the Division of Colorectal Surgery and the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, physicians at NYU Langone Health were the first in New York to use the Flex® Robotic System within the gastrointestinal tract. Together, colorectal surgeon Mitchell Bernstein, MD, chief of the Division of Colorectal Surgery, and gastroenterologist Seth A. Gross, MD, removed a large, premalignant rectal lesion in a woman who was then discharged on the same day.
“This is the first time a robotic platform was incorporated into gastrointestinal endoscopy,” says Dr. Gross, also an associate professor of Medicine at NYU School of Medicine. “At a time when technology and advancement in endoscopy is rapidly improving, our Division is committed to studying and utilizing the best technologies available to care for patients.
Patients with large lesions, whether benign, premalignant, or potentially malignant, in the GI tract often have to undergo surgery to remove the diseased anatomy. The new robotic platform integrated the principles of both endoscopy and minimally invasive surgery for luminal gastrointestinal procedures.
“As surgeons, we continually strive to enhance our techniques, to provide better results for our patients while minimizing complications, decreasing pain, and speeding up recovery,” said Dr. Bernstein, also an associate professor of Surgery at NYU School of Medicine. “As a proponent of minimally invasive and robotic surgery, I appreciate the value of technology that treats disease without creating a traditional incision, thereby reducing scarring, recovery time, and risk of infection, while enhancing patient experience.”
The USFDA cleared scope is inserted into the anus under general anaesthesia after which the physician advances the endoscope, that also includes a high-definition, 3D camera, to the site of the lesion with the help of a robotic console. Once in place, the scope creates a stable surgical platform through which flexible instruments can pass. Therefore, physicians remove the lesion without making any cuts through a patient’s skin.
The Flex®Robotic System was awarded the Best-in-Show at the 2016 Medical Design Excellence Awards (MDEA) and a Best New Product at the 2017 Edison Awards, for its excellent advancement in the robotic technology.