Seven Degrees of Freedom

Compound Provides Real Advantage to High Dexterity Surgical Instruments

Surgical Instrument

Novare Surgical has integrated its RealHand HD technology into a series of endo-laparoscopic instruments such as graspers, dissectors, scissors, and needle drivers.

Patients undergoing minimally invasive surgery (MIS) benefit from a number of real advantages these procedures provide over traditional surgery. Now they also benefit from a series of high dexterity surgical instruments from Novare Surgical Systems.

MIS involves endoscopic cameras and laparoscopic instruments inserted through tiny incisions — resulting in less discomfort for patients, smaller scars, and shorter hospital stays.

Limited ergonomics and difficulty reaching around internal body structures are two of the primary challenges for MIS surgeons. RealHand™ HD instruments were developed to address both the clinical and ergonomic challenges of MIS. The laparoscopic instruments are the first fully articulating devices with seven degrees of freedom of movement, which allow them to mirror a surgeon’s hand movements while providing simultaneous tactile feedback.

For Novare’s design engineers, assembling a top-notch team of suppliers was imperative. A molder with superior quality systems was crucial, so they chose Micro Star Innovations. For material expertise, a high level of responsiveness was necessary to meet an aggressive launch schedule and was a primary factor in specifying RTP Company specialty compounds.

“Because the project was accelerated, there was no room for error,” said Dave Danitz, Vice President Research & Development at Novare Surgical.  “We chose RTP Company because it was important that we pick the correct materials out of the gate.”

A combination of material requirements posed challenges. Desired rigidity could not be obtained without adding a relatively high percentage of glass reinforcement in the handle components.  Since RealHand instruments are high-end surgical tools, handle aesthetics were particularly important. A dark blue color chosen for the handle added potential for glass and sink marks to be visible on the surface.

“Our parts have complex and tightly toleranced geometries that rely on consistent materials,” said Danitz. “RTP Company was helpful in weighing many of the conflicting variables considered when choosing the optimum plastic material.” A glass fiber reinforced RTP 2500 Series PC/ABS alloy compound was selected for use in the RealHand line of MIS instruments.  The material was custom color matched to a Pantone standard with FDA compliant pigments and provided a precise blend of strength, wear resistance, and gamma sterilization stability.

Novare’s RealHand instruments needed to meet ISO 10993-1 biocompatibility standards. RTP Company colorists are experts in formulating materials to meet specific healthcare requirements. They weigh all the factors that affect color, including: resin, additives, texture, shape, usage environment, processing methods, and most of all, aesthetics.

“It’s critical for these materials to hold tolerances and provide repeatable color,” said Phil Johnson of Micro Star. “RTP Company engineers were there all along the way providing assistance in formulating the custom compounds and quickly providing documentation on which to base our tooling and processes, which made the build much easier.”

Today, RealHand technology is enabling many advanced MIS procedures, providing real advantages to surgeons, and more importantly patients.

Novare Surgical Systems, Inc., of Cupertino, CA, manufactures MIS instruments based on their RealHand high dexterity technology platform. For more information visit www.novaresurgical.com.

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