Bristol Robotics Laboratory professor wins innovation award for surgery system

Issue date: 26 October 2018

Professor Sanja Dogramadzi collecting her award

A groundbreaking robotic surgery system developed at Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) has been recognised at the Bristol and Bath Health and Care Awards.

The system, which enables surgeons to put joint fractures back together using a robot-assisted and image-guided minimally invasive approach, received an innovation award.

The Best Innovation prize is aimed at celebrating innovation in health and care – whether a new approach, application of an idea or technology.

Led by BRL researcher Professor Sanja Dogramadzi, the robotic surgery system was supported by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) investment and is the first robot-assisted system designed to deal with joint fractures.

Professor Dogramadzi worked alongside Professor Roger Atkins, an orthopaedic surgeon at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and MATOrtho®, a UK leading medical device company. Professor Dogramadzi received funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to refine the system.

The Bristol team's surgical system combines state-of-the-art 3D imaging, pattern recognition and robotics.

Professor Dogramadzi said: “This collaboration is all about taking the latest advances in technology and using them in a real application which will have direct benefits to patients. By working closely with surgeons, we have been able to design a workable system which will function within the constraints of real surgery and meet the needs of patients. The robots we are developing will enhance the work of surgeons by carrying out complex tasks suited to robots, while the surgeon stays in control and makes the decisions essential to the success of the surgery.“

Ultimately, the system allows for earlier and less onerous surgery; reliable, perfect fragment re-alignment; improved patient outcomes; faster rehabilitation; reduced hospital stays; earlier return to work; fewer complications; arthritis avoidance; and significantly reduced NHS costs.

The award was presented earlier this week at the third annual Health and Care Awards at the Bristol Harbour Hotel, bringing together nurses, doctors, and researchers from across the two cities.

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