Swiss MedTech start-up AOT has gained CE certification for the world’s first human-approved contact-free laser cutting of bones using a robot.
The Cold Ablation Robot-guided Laser Osteotome (patented as CARLO) uses a laser beam to vaporise water within the bone substrate in milliseconds. This then allows the bone to be removed in layers without leaving any residue.
The robot also allows for new cutting forms. Previously unachievable functional geometries for “patient-specific, precisely fitting requirements” are now possible using the device. A laserhead is mounted onto a tactile robotic arm, which is then controlled using a navigation system.
AOT have noted that the safety of both patients and staff is of the highest priority when using CARLO. Should the patient move, or a change occur in the operation set-up, the robot will immediately terminate and automatically refocus the laserhead. Changes can be readjusted from a safe distance without the need for patient contact.
This means that tools will not need to be removed from the operating theatre, nor is there any chance of drills or saw blades breaking or bending and causing harm to the patient. A pre-operative plan of the bone incision is passed on to the robot for autonomous execution. AOT has described this as an important step towards a “continuous digitisation process” in surgical interventions.
Cyrill Bätscher, CEO of AOT, said, “The CE certification after years of intensive development is an important milestone. We have demonstrated the enormous potential of contact-free, robot-assisted surgery based on our laser technology for cutting bones. We have thus come a huge step closer to our vision of elevating classic surgical tools to the next level with our latest technology for the benefit of patients.”
In order to gain CE certification, CARLO was used for the first time in clinical study within the context of operations for jaw correction.