South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety on Thursday gave the green light for the country’s first indigenous endoscopic surgical robot developed by local display equipment and surgical robot maker Meere Company Inc. to be used in real operating rooms.
Meere Company’s Revo-i is a surgical robot system designed to help surgeons perform endoscopic surgeries like removing a gall bladder or prostate gland. It has four arms - three instruments and one camera - that go inside a patient’s body through a small hole on the body and help the doctor see and operate on surgical site. Its display unit generates three-dimensional images of the site, and the doctor using the control unit can maneuver the robot arms to incise, remove, and suture the wound.
Revo-i is the world’s third endoscopic surgical robot system that has gained approval for use following U.S.-based Intuitive Surgical Inc.’s da Vinci surgical system and TransEnterix Inc.`s Senhance surgical robotic system, said the food and drug safety ministry. Until now, most of the surgical robots that won approval were those that are used in providing guidance on surgical site or shaving away damaged bones in knee or hip replacement surgeries.
Shares of Kosdaq-listed Meere Company finished Friday at 80,600 won ($71.64), up 8,500 won or 11.8 percent from the previous session.
Meere Company developed its endoscopic surgical robot in close cooperation with the government through a special project backed by the food and drug safety ministry. The company could reduce the time to develop Revo-i thanks to the ministry’s full support for the whole development process from designing and executing tests to securing approval.
The ministry expected that the home-developed surgical robot would help reduce medical expenses and said it will continue to encourage more local firms to develop advanced medical devices with full support.
The global surgical robot market has been expanding fast at an annual growth rate of 12.1 percent. It is expected to be worth 9.6 trillion won by 2021.
By Kim Myung-hwan
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