Exciting innovation in robotic surgery

Ground-breaking new surgical technology has taken a step closer to reality, thanks to a new partnership.

Cambridge Design Partnership (CDP) has teamed up with Canadian based Titan Medical (titanmedicalinc.com) to develop an innovative robotic surgery system. They aim to offer minimally invasive surgery (MIS) through a single incision, rather than several incisions, which is currently the case with both traditional laparoscopic surgery and existing multi-port robotic systems.

The innovative “single-port” robotic surgery system should offer swifter recovery time and less scarring for patients, in addition to better access to narrow spaces for surgeons.

“We are delighted to be working with Titan Medical on this important project,” says CDP partner Jez Clements. “It’s an exciting technology and one we are proud to be involved with.”

Technology and product innovation company CDP first started working with Titan Medical on its robotic surgery system in 2019. The collaboration has been so effective that the two companies have announced an ongoing working partnership for the project.

“We are pleased to announce our expanded collaboration with Cambridge Design Partnership,” says David McNally, President and CEO of Titan. “Since engaging with them only a few months ago, their highly qualified engineers have rapidly driven innovation and delivered significant performance improvements.”

The two companies are now working together on the single-port robotic surgical system towards a submission for FDA approval in the US.

“This technology will mean less invasive procedures for patients, offering improved recovery and less trauma,” explains Hans Pflaumer, senior mechanical engineer at CDP. “However, for a surgeon to achieve a good result with just a single small incision creates all sorts of technical and design challenges, which we have worked intensively to overcome. In the Titan robot, this is accomplished using a single 25mm port which is used to pass a 2D camera, a 3D camera and the multi-articulating instruments into the surgical site.”

CDP has its HQ in Cambridge in the UK but also has a base in Raleigh, North Carolina to better serve our clients in the US. “It has been advantageous for our team to be able to work on this project in both the US and UK time zones, effectively giving us a fifteen-hour working day,” says Hans. “As a consequence, we have been able to deliver significant design improvements in a short space of time.”

Titan’s robotic surgery technology contains a large amount of intellectual property (IP), with 47 issued and 87 pending patents on individual elements within the system. “It is a very valuable portfolio,” says senior mechanical engineer Aki Laakso. “We want to make sure Titan is maximising the impact of their IP.

“We are working on surgical instruments with multiple functions, including cutting, suturing and cauterising. We need to make all these processes as robust and stable as possible for the surgeon, while offering the best possible workspace within the patient.”

The project plays to CDP’s skills in terms of electromechanical medical device design, says CDP partner Jez Clements: “Much of the focus with Titan has been on achieving milestones in a very swift, performance-based collaboration. Titan needed results and we have been able to provide smart design decisions in a short timeframe, thanks to our skilled team and fast-paced work ethos.”

Using a multi-continental work cycle in both CDP’s UK and US bases, the team has made fast progress to overcome design challenges. “Our wealth of experience working on ISO 13485 and FDA medical device approvals stood us in good stead to work with Titan on this project,” says Jez Clements. “It’s a design-critical build which will ultimately revolutionise minimally invasive surgery. In addition, we have been able to maximise value and look at reducing costs within the design, which will help its launch onto the market.

“Ultimately, we are aiming for surgeons to use this equipment with complete confidence in the operating theatre. The market is ready for this innovation and it will undoubtedly bring huge benefits to patients in the future.”