Lincoln, Neb.-based Virtual Incision Corp., a medical device company offering miniaturized robots for laparoscopic surgery, announces that the world’s first surgery using the miniaturized in vivo robotic assistant (MIRA) Surgical Platform has been successfully performed by Michael A. Jobst, MD, at Bryan Medical Center, also in Lincoln.

The robotically assisted right hemicolectomy procedure, which was completed using the MIRA surgical platform via a single incision within the navel, was performed as part of a clinical study of MIRA under an Investigational Device Exemption from the U.S. FDA. The study will be conducted at a limited number of U.S. hospitals in support of the system’s regulatory pathway to approval.

“The MIRA platform is a true breakthrough platform for general surgery, and it is extremely gratifying to be the first surgeon in the world to use the system,” says Jobst. “The procedure went smoothly, and the patient is recovering well. I’m excited to play a part in taking the first steps toward increasing access to robotically assisted surgery, which has clear benefits for patients.”

The MIRA Surgical Platform is a portable robot that allows surgeons to perform real-time minimally invasive single incision surgeries, without the need for the dedicated space or infrastructure typically required for “mainframe” robotic systems. Weighing only 2 pounds, the miniature platform has full robotic capabilities, and can easily be moved from room to room. The system is designed to enable complex, multi-quadrant abdominal surgeries using a handheld device.

Many hospitals currently offering robotic surgeries face challenges with scheduling because the demand for minimally invasive procedures exceeds the number of available robots. Capital costs often prohibit hospitals from purchasing additional platforms. MIRA aims to present a cost-effective option that will expand access to a larger number of patients, company officials say.

“We are ushering in a new era of innovation to bring the benefits of robotic surgery to a broad range of facilities, with the goal of providing access to patients everywhere,” says John Murphy, Virtual Incision CEO. “This first procedure is an incredible milestone that further advances our goal to expand access to the benefits of minimally invasive robotic procedures to patients to virtually any U.S. healthcare provider, regardless of the distance from an urban center. We look forward to expanding our clinical trial to additional sites and states in the coming months.”