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Thursday, June 2, 2016, 22:41

Experts extol future benefits of robotic microsurgery

By Li Xiange

HONG KONG – Advancing robotic microsurgery promises safer, minimally intrusive, and more cost-effective surgical treatments for patients in Hong Kong in the years to come, experts said on Thursday at an innovation conference.

At the event organized by Hong Kong Science Park, the Hamlyn Centre at Imperial College London signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Robotic Alliance of Hong Kong. This is to promote information exchange, interdisciplinary academic exchanges and joint research projects.

Director of the Hamlyn Centre Yang Guangzhong, a leading expert in robotic research, is optimistic about the prospects of robotic technology being applied in Hong Kong.

Yang said his team, having completed the research stage, is now seeking commercial opportunities in Hong Kong. The SAR with its geographical advantages can be a good gateway to reach the global market.

He views Hong Kong as the ideal place to launch collaboration in this field, with its well-established universities and good healthcare systems. Yang also said he planned to conduct human trials in Hong Kong to collect more clinical data.

Currently, surgeries assisted by robotics are not widely accessible. Only a lucky few who are rich and privileged can enjoy them. The existing robots in surgeries are not small in size, and doctors need a lot of training on how to operate them.

The new robotic-assisted surgeries could cut the cost of the treatment and reduce the time for recovery as well as the cost for post-surgery care.

In the past, surgery was about saving life, but nowadays, the quality of life after surgery becomes another concern for patients, explained Yang.

A greater degree of precision and accuracy through integrated sensing and probe-based microscopic imaging will contribute to early intervention of diseases and minimizing the wounds, added Yang.

Norman Tien, chairman of the Robotic Alliance of Hong Kong, which signed the MOU with the Hamlyn Centre, said robotics was in line with the Hong Kong government’s push for re-industrialization through innovation and developing new technologies.

Academia, the industrial sector, the government and NGOs in Hong Kong can all contribute to accelerating the development of robotic technology, Tien said.

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