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Robot-assisted ophthalmic surgery has been the focus of intense interest in recent years. In this study, the authors tested the potential utility of a robotic armrest in ophthalmic surgery. The iArmS device consists of a forearm rest attached to a robotic arm, which can follow the movements of the surgeon’s arm or be switched to a ‘wait’ mode and become fixed in place. Eight ophthalmologists placed a suture between two points in a porcine cornea, with and without support from the armrest. The amount of hand tremor and the accuracy of suture length between the two points was quantified using video analysis. Participants also completed a questionnaire to assess their subjective level of fatigue during surgery. Although tremor amplitude was reduced by 20% while using the armrest, there was no significant difference in suture accuracy or suturing time. Subjectively, the participants reported lower fatigue while using the armrest. The concept of a robotic armrest is interesting and could have some utility for surgeons in training. For experienced surgeons, however, this device would need to demonstrate a clear advantage in terms of safety or efficiency before its cost could be justified.

Microscopic ophthalmic surgery using freely movable arm support robot: basic experiment and clinical experience.
Okamura C, Kojima T, Tokiwa S, et al.
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Ed Rule

Wrexham Hospital, UK.

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