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Intuitive surgical unleashes da Vinci 5 with 'groundbreaking' haptic feedback

After years of development, Intuitive Surgical has officially launched its next-generation da Vinci 5 surgical robot, packed with cutting-edge enhancements aimed at elevating robotic precision, efficiency and ergonomics in the operating room.



The da Vinci 5 includes more than 150 new innovations compared to Intuitive's previous da Vinci Xi system, which has been used in over 7 million procedures worldwide since its debut. But the marquee feature garnering buzz is the system's "groundbreaking" Force Feedback technology.


"Force Feedback is truly a breakthrough for robotic surgery," said Dr. Myriam Curet, Intuitive's Chief Medical Officer. "It allows surgeons to actually feel the forces exerted on tissue during robotically-assisted procedures."


The da Vinci 5's force-sensing instruments can measure the subtle push-and-pull forces applied to tissue. This haptic data is then relayed back to the surgeon's hand controls, providing a sense of touch and tension previously missing from modern robotic surgery systems.


In preclinical tests, Intuitive found that surgeons using Force Feedback exerted significantly less force on tissue compared to traditional robotic instruments without haptics. This tactile feedback could potentially reduce tissue trauma and complications.


"With our hospital customers, we plan to study how Force Feedback translates to real clinical outcomes and patient experiences as it's adopted across a range of procedures," Curet said.


Beyond the haptics breakthrough, the da Vinci 5 features comprehensive design upgrades from prior models. It boasts next-gen 3D imaging for improved visualization, ultra-smooth motion controls, and robust computing power - a staggering 10,000 times greater than the Xi system.


This supercharged processing capacity allows seamless integration with Intuitive's suite of digital solutions like simulation training software, video advisory platforms, and data analytics tools that can objectively analyze surgeries.


"Da Vinci 5 sets us up to make a lot of innovation progress over the coming years," said Dave Rosa, President of Intuitive Surgical. "We're entering a new era of surgical data science."


The da Vinci 5 also incorporates human factors engineering to reduce physical strain and enhance productivity for surgeons and operating room teams. Its redesigned surgeon console supports a broader range of postures and easier access to controls.


While the fourth and fifth generation da Vinci systems may look outwardly similar, Rosa stressed the newer model represents a major technological leap that "takes surgical precision to a new level."


Several workflow enhancements could help reduce operating times. In a small study of 53 initial da Vinci 5 procedures, Intuitive observed qualitative evidence that surgeries may take less time compared to prior systems.


"Faster cases that don't compromise patient safety should be well appreciated by our hospital customers," said Curet. "It allows them to use valuable operating room resources more efficiently."


Gary Guthart, Intuitive's CEO, envisions a future where highly data-driven robotic surgery becomes the norm rather than a niche capability restricted to major medical centers.


"Sophisticated surgical tools should be ubiquitous, not limited to robotic names and branding," he said. "With da Vinci 5's integrated data streams and insights engine, we're taking a big step toward making elite surgery accessible through smart technology combined with skilled care teams."


While experienced robotic surgeons may be able to quickly transition to the new da Vinci 5, Guthart expects its pioneering Force Feedback to spark healthy debate around when and how much haptic feedback is optimal across different procedures.


"This isn't going to be a matter of opinion," he said. "We'll be able to definitively study what clinical impact Force Feedback has when it's turned on versus off during real surgeries. That data will be fascinating and transformative."


As global demand for surgeries continues rising, the da Vinci 5 could help address persistent surgeon shortages by improving ergonomics, boosting productivity, and eventually democratizing access to elite surgical techniques.


For Intuitive, da Vinci 5 represents the next major milestone in its vision of making robotic-assisted surgery the world standard of care. By fusing cutting-edge haptics, computer vision, data analytics and human-centric design, the company is ushering surgical robotics into a new era of sophistication and disruption.

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