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Robot independently places 3-D printed implants in a patient in China

October 01, 2017

XI'AN, China: In a independent surgery, a robot has placed two 3-D-printed implants into a patient’s mouth. The successful procedure can be one of the ways to reduce the shortage of skilled dental professionals in Asia, especially in metropolises such as Hong Kong and Singapore, and furthermore can eliminate risks posed by poor-quality surgeries performed by unqualified dentists.

Prof. Zhao Yimin, a surgeon from the Fourth Military Medical University (FMMU) in Xi’an, said that the procedure performed on a female patient went very smoothly with implants being placed with high precision.

After acquiring the necessary CT scan, the medical team fitted a position orientation equipment and the movements, angle and depth needed to fit the implants in the patient’s mouth were determined. This way the robot could be programmed to move into the correct position to carry out the operation. The surgical procedure lasted for one hour.

Although human staff was present at all times during the surgery, they did not play an active role. The robot, which was jointly developed by the Beihang University in Beijing in China and FMMU’s Stomatological Hospital over the last four years, is designed to follow a set of preprogrammed commands. However it is able to make adjustments during surgery, the South China Morning Post reported.

Experts have predicted that in the future, robot-assisted and -led technology could increasingly facilitate dental surgeons’ work. In recent years, Robotic technology has been introduced to assist in dental procedures such as root canal therapy, orthodontic operations and implant placement. In March this year, a pioneering robotic guidance system, Yomi, received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration. The computerized navigational system delivers physical guidance through the use of haptic robotic technology, which provides sensory feedback and constrains the drill in position, orientation and depth, the device’s manufacturer, Neocis, stated.

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