The domestic robot system is seeking to make foray into the surgical robot market which is expected to grow to 10 trillion won (US$8.86 billion) by 2021.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) announced on August 3 that it has approved Revo-i, the first surgical robot system developed in South Korea. Revo-i is a system in which a physician inserts a robot arm into the body of the patient after making a minimum incision, and surgeons can perform a surgical operation while viewing three-dimensional images inside. The system is used for general endoscopic surgery, including cholecystectomy and prostatectomy.
Revo-I can use four robotic arms to find the exact area of body for the surgery, cut and seal. It is the second surgical robot cleared by any health regulator in the world for the use of general endoscopic surgery, following the Da Vinci surgical system, which was developed by Intuitive Surgical, a U.S. company. So far, the majority of existing surgical robots approved have been playing limited roles at hospitals such as guiding to surgical sites or cutting bones for knee and hip replacement procedures.
The surgical robots market is expanding because they can accurately recognize surgical sites and minimize the incision through 3D stereoscopic images. The global medical robot market, which is worth about 5.87 trillion won (US$5.2 billion) this year, is expected to show a double-digit growth a year to 10 trillion won (US$8.86 billion) by 2021.
An official from the MFDS said, “We expect the successful localization of surgical robots will significantly reduce financial burdens of patients who need endoscopic surgery through the import substitution effect and speed up patients’ recovery with a shorter operative time and less blood loss. The MFDS closely supported the whole process of clinical trial design and implementation to authorization for the latest surgical robot as part of its programs to help newly developed medical devices get approval. So, we reduced the time spent on commercialization. We will also keep providing active support to encourage the development of advanced medical devices in the future.”
Meanwhile, nine surgical robots have currently received approval of use in South Korea, including the robots developed by Curexo of the U.S., Stryker Korea of the U.S. and Soelim International of France as well as Da Vinci of U.S.-based Intuitive Surgical.