UTHealth Microsurgical Robotics Laboratory will expand the possibilities of robotic surgery by creating the first microsurgical robotic system delicate enough for brain surgery, yet robust enough to perform traditional abdominal surgeries. Telerobotic capabilities will allow surgeons from the best medical centers to reach more patients, and provide the same quality of care to remote hospitals around the world
The microsurgical robot features three miniaturized instruments and one stereoscopic camera that fit into one of four ports of the robotic arm. This allows for just one, single incision. The robotic arm is flexible, featuring several joints, so that it moves dexterously and precisely. Instruments can be interchanged and come in a wide selection of specialized tip designs to enable a broad range of microsurgical operations. The stereoscopic camera allows 3D visualization of the surgical field. Each instrument can be sterilized and then reused later – allowing a cost effective design. A master controller controls the robotic arm remotely. This controller offers haptic feedback, giving the surgeon more information than current available robotic systems. These miniaturized, dexterous tools are what give the robotic the capability of performing highly complex procedures.
Dr. Daniel Kim is Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at The University of Texas Medical School, where he also serves as the Director of Spinal Neurosurgery and Reconstructive Peripheral Nerve Surgery. Dr. Kim is a fellowship-trained, board-certified neurosurgeon who is an expert in minimally invasive spinal surgery, both endoscopic and robotic; peripheral nerve surgery; and complex spinal reconstruction. Dr. Kim has won numerous awards and honours, authored hundreds of papers and published 17 surgical textbooks.
He is a preeminent researcher in peripheral nerve repair through nerve transfer and nerve graft, and is also recognized for his work in neurorehabilitation through robotics and cortical stimulation, spinal biomechanics and innovative neuromodulation treatments for chronic pain. Dr. Kim is also adjunct professor in the departments of Bioengineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University.
Before his appointment at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Dr. Kim served as a professor in the departments of Neurosurgery and Orthopaedic Surgery at the Baylor College of Medicine (BCM). He was the director of spinal neurosurgery and reconstructive peripheral nerve surgery for both programs. Before that, he was a full professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
A graduate of the University of Oklahoma in chemical engineering, Dr. Kim received his medical degree at Tulane University School of Medicine before completing his neurosurgery residency at Louisiana State University. He completed a fellowship in spine surgery at the University of Florida with Richard Fessler, M.D., Ph.D.