FlexDex Surgical said this week that the 1st iteration of its arm mounted medical platform, a laparoscopic “needle driver” device designed for internal stitching, has been used for the 1st time in a procedure.
The company’s FlexDex is designed as a mechanical platform which mounts to a surgeon’s arm to enable the tip of the instrument to mimic the direction of movement of the surgeon’s hand.
“This is the culmination of 10 years of effort and to know that the device is performing exactly as we expected it would, impacting patients’ lives in a positive way—it’s an amazing feeling. We always saw the potential, but now it’s crystallized. ” FlexDex co-founder Dr. Jim Geiger of the University of Michigan Medical School said in a prepared statement. “If I move my hand up, the device tip goes up. Wherever I move my hand, the tip of this instrument follows.”
FlexDex said it has begun shipping the initial iteration of the product throughout the US, which the company said can be used in a “long list of operations” including hernia repairs, hysterectomies and prostatectomies. The company said it plans to release additional instruments for its platform in the coming year.
“FlexDex provides the functionality of robots at the cost of traditional hand-held laparoscopic instruments. We’ve disrupted the paradigm where surgeons and hospitals had to choose between high cost/high function and low cost/low function. Our mission is to democratize minimally invasive surgery and expand its use around the U.S. and the world. It’s kind of like the transition from mainframe computers to smartphones. You hardly need a manual to use it. It’s just intuitive,” co-founder Shorya Awtar of the University of Michigan said in a press release.
The company’s technology began as National Science Foundation-funded research at the University of Michigan, and the company was founded based on that technology in 2014.