Interview with Stefano Pomati, the man behind the Senhance® Surgical System
In the beginning, there was a passion for robotics of an industrial robotics and automation student at the Technical University of Milan in Italy. At the end, which is far from the end, is the robotic system for digital laparoscopy Senhance.
Eva: Today, we are here at the Asensus training center, where you have presented us the latest version of the Senhance® Surgical System with Digital Laparoscopy that represents a new era in minimally invasive surgery. When and how was the idea of creating a robotic system born?
Stefano: “I was always passionate about robotics and then came a demand from my friend's father, who was interested in having a laparoscopic robot that he could use for gynecological procedures. At the end of my studies in 2002, as a part of my diploma thesis, I created a robotic system for gynecological laparoscopic surgery in cooperation with an Italian company Stagiere.
Together with representatives of a gynecological society, we have created a concept that we still adhere to today. The Senhance has been developed to aid in the transition to a new era of digital laparoscopy to help drive value-based healthcare, providing surgeons with an unprecedented level of control, integrating innovative technological advances to help surgery become more instinctive, more responsive, and more focused.”
Eva: What was the path from the launch of the first prototype to the product we have in front of us today?
Stefano: “In 2004, together with SOFAR, we created the first prototype. The functions haven’t changed much from the version we have today but as you can see the design was very industrial. The second prototype of the ALF-X was presented in 2008 at the National Gynecological Congress in Bari.
It was a great success and I have continued to improve it until October 2013, when the first surgery on a human took place at a gynecological clinic in Rome. Subsequently, in 2015, the system was acquired by TransEnterix and the Senhance robotic system expanded globally.”
Eva: What are your vision and plans?
Stefano: “I am excited about what the future will bring. In Asensus we are focusing now on artificial intelligence. Machine vision, augmented intelligence, and deep learning capabilities, which are the future in surgery. We call it 'surgical intelligence' – a smart assistant that facilitates procedures.
The Asensus Surgical Assurance Framework is at the heart of this digital interface, ensuring surgeons have advanced point-of-care knowledge to elevate their performance throughout every stage of surgery. This is Performance-Guided Surgery™. This type of surgery addresses each phase of the surgical decision chain to increase safety for better outcomes which leads to improved patient and provider satisfaction. Additionally, it reduces surgical variability, factors that contribute to poor outcomes. This real-time Clinical Intelligence and capabilities will create more consistent, predictable outcomes.”
Eye-tracking, haptic feedback, augmented 3D HD visualization, 3 mm instruments – the Senhance Surgical System is literally packed with innovative technologies to be better prepared for the surgery with intelligent dashboard settings, giving surgeons perceptive real-time guidance during surgery and supporting the surgeon after surgery via performance analytics.