By: 28 August 2015
KB Medical – AQrate – promotional feature

KB Medical – AQrate – promotional feature

KB Medical SA is a Swiss company focusing on the design, development and commercialisation of the AQrate robotic system to empower surgeons with precise, cost-effective, robotic-assisted spinal surgery.

The company’s mission is to provide a robotic system specifically designed for spinal surgery, and to integrate imaging, navigation, instruments and robotics to work as a full solution to support minimally invasive spinal surgery. The system integrates seamlessly into existing operating rooms and does not disrupt the workflow or standard procedure steps owing to its reliability and ease of use. The AQrate system concept was successfully validated by leading surgeons worldwide.

The objective of the project, initially defined by a group of spinal surgeons, was to develop a system enabled by a robot with intuitive haptic, intraoperative planning and steering capabilities. The robotic system requires minimal change in the operating flow to provide necessary accuracy and stability of the planned trajectory during open, minimally invasive and percutaneous spinal surgery. It simplifies the procedure by integrating the benefits of imaging, navigation, dedicated implants and instruments to reduce time of surgery while increasing the overall safety for the patient and the surgical staff. The underlying technology includes haptic robot control, algorithms for no-go/stay-in zones, virtual ease or resistance in trajectories, motion tracking, active stability, re-registration based on detection of anatomy, and design of robot-enabled instrumentation and techniques to reduce the time and number of surgical steps.

The AQrate system includes both a robotic and a software evolutive platform. The robotic arm is mounted on a cart and is wheeled at the operating table. Wheels are then retracted and the cart rests on rugged feet for maximum stability. The overall space taken at operating table is small, as specified by the surgeons during the initial definition of their ideal solution. The robotic platform includes a medical robotic arm providing the required strength and accuracy. An active steering handle is attached to the tip of the robotic arm via a six-axis force sensor to provide haptic steering and force feedback. Standard instruments can be attached to the AQrate steering handle. The robot follows the motion of the surgeon and guides the position of the instruments to the entry point and trajectory. Once the instrument is in place, the robot actively maintains the trajectory while the surgeon performs surgical steps. Software capabilities for future applications include a host of steering and assistance algorithms, assisted positioning to trajectories, high-precision motion tracking, and access to information from and to imaging or navigation devices intra-operatively. Once the robot is stabilised at the operating table, the surgeon adapts his or her instruments to the steering handle and manipulates that handle as if he or she were holding the instrument itself. While the elements of the solution independently represent incremental yet significant innovation, the combination and the integration of imaging, navigation and instruments enabled by the robot result in a disruptive solution with the clear potential to enable large-scale adoption of minimally invasive spinal surgery.


KB Medical SA

T: +41 21 552 08 10