Congratulations to Co-Me member Brett Bell, group head Surgical Robotics at the ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering, University of Bern: He was awarded the 2013 Ypsomed Innovation Prize of CHF 30'000 for his work on minimally invasive robot-based cochlear implantation.
Brett Bell and his team have developed a high precision image guided robotic implantation system for stereotactic cochlear implantation, offering an alternative approach to the traditional invasive surgical procedure. The goal was to reduce invasiveness, to enhance accuracy and dexterity for a better outcome of the intervention, and to reduce surgical procedure time as well as hospital stay of patients.
The resulting, worldwide unique new surgical procedure allows the surgeon to introduce the electrodes through a small diameter tunnel of only 1,5 mm, drilled from the outer surface of the temporal bone directly to the cochlea. The challenge of this method is the high level of accuracy that is required to safely drill the tunnel in the proper location without damage to the nerves, which reside in this space.
This work is the result of a more than four years research cooperation of the ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research, University of Bern, Prof. Stefan Weber, and the HNO clinic of the University Hospital Bern, Prof. Marco Caversaccio. It is part of the Co-Me ORL project and was co-financed by the SNSF. The next step will be the further development and commercialization of the system, together with the Co-Me Start-up company CAScination