A patient at the University Hospitals Leuven was the first to be operated on using a surgical robot. The robot used a needle of barely .03 mm to inject a drug into the retinal vein of the patient who suffers from retinal vein occlusion.
Researchers are currently studying a procedure known as retinal vein cannulation (RVC) which removes the blood clot in the retinal vein. The delicate surgery requires that a surgeon have extreme precision to operate on the vein which is about the same width as a human hair. The needle has to be held perfectly still for 10 minutes which is physically impossible for any surgeon to do without damaging the retinal vein.
The success of this procedure means that it is now technically possible to use a surgical robot to safely dissolve a blood clot from the retinal vein. Researchers will now move to a Phase 2 trial to demonstrate what clinical effect there is for patients with retinal vein occlusion.*
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