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Sovato Announces Multiple Successful Remote Robotic-Assisted Procedures Over a 500-Mile Distance with the Use of the Sovato Platform

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  • Sovato, a company enabling remote surgery and procedures, announced the use of the Sovato Platform in the successful completion of a series of remote robotic-assisted surgery (RAS) procedures in a preclinical technology demonstration.

Sovato, a company enabling remote surgery and procedures, announced the use of the Sovato Platform in the successful completion of a series of remote robotic-assisted surgery (RAS) procedures in a preclinical technology demonstration. As part of the preclinical tests, seven surgeons across four specialties performed Nephrectomy, Hysterectomy, Colectomy, and Cholecystectomy procedures, validating the broad application of remote surgery.

The preclinical test results and surgeon experience were presented at the Society of Robotic Surgery 2024 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. The surgeons completed a user experience assessment based on the NASA Task Load Index, a self-evaluation tool used to measure a subjective mental workload assessment of a participant while performing a task. The results revealed a high degree of confidence while performing the remote procedures. Surgeons also reported the ability to communicate effectively with the bedside assistant and having comparable situational awareness of the remote operating room compared to in-person surgery.

“I could not tell the difference between doing surgery in my operating room or in an operating room that was 500 miles away,” stated Francesco Bianco, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, Division of General, Minimally Invasive & Robotic Surgery Department of Surgery, at the University of Illinois, Chicago, who presented the results. “The experience was seamless. There was no detectable delay. There was absolute comfort in communicating with the team on the remote side. Everything looked like a normal day in my operating room.”

The Sovato Platform is a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive solution for enabling and orchestrating remote robotic-assisted surgeries and procedures. Sovato brings together the remote surgery ecosystem, including healthcare providers and any RAS system, to deliver the curated fiberoptic network, clinical workflows, data, and supporting infrastructure required to enable safe, scalable, and profitable remote surgery and procedure programs. For healthcare organizations, Sovato’s platform supports the complete remote surgery program spanning the entire surgical journey for surgeons, care teams, and patients.

In the preclinical tests, the Sovato Platform was paired with a modified version of Virtual Incision’s MIRA Surgical System to enable surgeons from multiple disciplines to perform the procedures across a 500-mile distance. The Sovato Platform enabled low latency, curated, fiberoptic connectivity from the surgeon console to control MIRA’s arms and integrated an articulating camera at the remote location for full situational awareness. Surgeons maintained immersive verbal and visual communication with the remote care team using the Sovato Platform.

“Remote surgery offers the ability for surgeons and healthcare teams to care for patients who may not have access to minimally invasive surgery in many parts of the world,” stated Marty Martino, MD, Medical Director, Gynecologic Oncology and Robotic Surgery at Ascension St. Vincent’s. “To think about a surgeon located in one city and performing a remote surgery more than 500 miles away – all while feeling like you’re right there in person with the patient and care team – is history in the making.”

Remote surgery will help address the needs of more than half the world’s population that does not currently have access to high-quality surgical care, including 83 million Americans who must travel for routine procedures.1 Robotic-assisted technologies have the potential to enable minimally invasive surgery for these patients by allowing a surgeon to operate from a distant location. Miniaturized RAS systems, like MIRA, can further impact the process through simplified transportation and storage, making remote surgery a more feasible option for more hospitals.

“Sovato’s position is that the user experience is fundamental to drive adoption. Capturing the surgeon’s confidence in the technology and workflows is everything,” said Cynthia Perazzo, CEO and co-founder of Sovato. “These preclinical tests highlight that with the right tools and supporting infrastructure, remote surgery can mimic, and even improve, the experience for the surgeon and care teams. We are grateful to Virtual Incision’s partnership in making these preclinical tests a success. We share a vision of democratizing access to high-quality surgical care at a much larger scale, and these tests underscore we are on the right path to making this vision a reality.”

The preclinical tests were performed on porcine models between Lincoln, NE, and Chicago, IL, by the following surgeons:

  • Dr. Francesco Bianco, General Surgery – University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Dr. Michael Fabrizio, Urology – Urology of Virginia
  • Dr. Gerald Gantt, Colorectal Surgery – University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Dr. Gregory Heidrick, Obstetrics & Gynecology – Lincoln OB/GYN
  • Dr. Michael Jobst, General & Colorectal Surgery – Bryan Health
  • Dr. Martin Martino, Gynecologic Oncology – Ascension St. Vincent’s
  • Dr. James Porter, Urology – Providence St. Joseph Health
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