SensOR Medical's Innovative Technology Improve Surgical Safety In Minimally Invasive Surgery

SensOR Medical's Innovative Technology Improve Surgical Safety In Minimally Invasive Surgery

Minimally invasive surgery offers many benefits over traditional surgeries, including less trauma to the body, leading to decreased scarring, faster recovery and hospital discharge. As a result, such procedures are becoming more and more popular among patients, doctors and the industry. However, despite its advantages, there are associated concerns that can have serious consequences on patient safety. For example, the surgical endoscope camera can provide minimal feedback and the deprived sense of touch can increase the risk of accidental injuries, leading to post-operative complications.

The Toronto-based startup SensOR Medical Laboratories is determined to improve safety of minimally invasive surgeries and is developing a force-sensing technology that can help give surgeons more feedback. Their patent-pending Force-Sensing Film is a device that wraps around any surgical instrument and measure the force applied to tissues within the body. The forces detected by the film are wirelessly transmitted to a receiver and a visual display, providing surgeons with real-time force feedback, including alerts when dangerous force levels have been reached. The visual cues provided by the device can be integrated into monitors that are already in use by surgeons to see inside the body.

Accurately estimating the force in endoscopic surgery is very difficult and current surgical training only evaluates speed and accuracy. Proper force control is essential, as using too much or not enough force can cause leaks, necrosis, excessive scarring, and additional post-operative pain and complications. SensOR Medical has developed an innovative technology that give surgeons the ability to sense the force they apply to tissue during minimally invasive procedures. The technology could potentially reduce complications, duration of post-operative hospital stays and readmission rates, improving patient safety and outcomes. In addition, the Force-Sensing Film can be used as a training tool in surgical programs, improving surgical outcomes and saving money for the hospital.

SensOR Medical Laboratories was founded by Robert Brooks and Justin Wee in 2015. Originally they thought the force technology could help trainees learn suturing in general laparoscopic surgery, but realized it was a broader need after talking to surgeons and doing a literature review. The device was developed at the Center for Image Guided Innovation and Therapeutic Intervention at the Hospital for Sick Children, and they have received help from University of Toronto’s (U of T) Health Innovation Hub to transition the project from research to a commercially viable product. The startup has also won the National Business and Technology Conference’s 2016 Veteran Entrepreneurship Pitch Competition, and been part of U of T Engineering’s accelerator The Entrepreneurship Hatchery, as well as The Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization’s 2017 Capital Access Advisory Program.