Ever since its FDA clearance for diagnostic and therapeutic bronchoscopic procedures in 2018, the AURIS Monarch Platform has been making waves by performing difficult lung biopsies that enable early detection of lung cancer. In 2022, the FDA cleared the Monarch Platform for urology applications. As a client of Photo Solutions, we’re incredibly proud of how AURIS has shaken up the healthcare industry by lowering costs and improving patient outcomes.Today we’re exploring how the Monarch works, why it’s so revolutionary, what photonic components we provide for it, and its potential in future applications.

How The AURIS Monarch Platform Works 

Even with the robotic arms, the Monarch doesn’t stand out in a surgical suite filled with medical equipment. Its design includes seperate mobile towers with the surgical robot mounted on a rolling cart. The matte white exterior blends in seamlessly with clinical settings, but what belies that unassuming aesthetic is a host of cutting-edge capabilities.

The Monarch features two main operating components. The first is the Monarch Platform which includes an advanced imaging system and a control console that looks similar to a video game controller. The second component is the robotic arm which a physician controls vis the console to insert and manipulate the catheter as it makes its way through the patient’s body. Once the scope has located tumors or lesions in the target area, it can remove tissue for biopsy, surgically remove the tumor, or directly deliver therapeutic treatments.

In urology, the Monarch Platform primarily removes kidney stones with the same advanced imaging and robotic precision. However, the robotic arm uses a flexible ureteroscope to provide visuals of the kidney and locate the stone. A laser fiber is then deployed to deliver laser pulses that break up the stone into small pieces. Forceps are utilized to gather and remove stone pieces that are too large to pass painlessly through the urinary system.

By understanding its function, we can detail exactly what makes the Monarch superior to traditional modalities—and the small components that aid its precision.

How The Monarch Platform Outpaces Conventional Bronchoscopic Surgical Methods

Prior to the market availability of AURIS’S Monarch, pulmonologists performed lung biopsies by manually inserting a catheter into a sedated patient. The catheter was outfitted with a camera so the physician could navigate lung pathways and find the offending lesions or tumors. Once they were located, the physicians used instruments on the catheter to remove tissue for biopsy. 

This method had obvious limitations. Firstly, the manual insertion into an intricate system like the lungs depended on human dexterity, making precise and stable navigation difficult to achieve. Not only that, the camera offered sub-par imaging with poor resolution, so it was difficult to spot tumors and lesions, which increased the likelihood of late intervention and costly repeat biopsies and procedures. 

The Monarch Platform solves these issues with an entourage of intuitive tech, precision components, and enhanced tools. The robot’s catheter is more flexible than its predecessor and has advanced imaging technology like a high-definition camera and an augmented reality overlay that allows doctors to clearly see the airways and see tumors and lesions in difficult-to-find target areas. 

Additionally, the platform uses Sensor Fusion Technology to make up for the divergence created by CT scans compared to the actual lung structure. This technology allows it to create an accurate map of even the smallest airways in real time. 

The robotic arm is able to thread the catheter with much greater accuracy and precision than a human, while the integrated camera ensures that the biopsy instruments are deployed and collect the target area’s material rather than accidentally puncturing an airway. 

What The Recent FDA Clearance Means for Urology 

The percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) procedure is considered the most effective way to remove large kidney stones, but it’s also the most challenging and costly. To access the kidney stone, a doctor makes a small incision in the patient’s back where the catheter enters. Weaving the catheter to find the kidneys is risky and extremely difficult. Because of this, PCNL procedures represent a small percentage of kidney stone treatments, even though they’re highly successful. 

The Monarch Platform uses electromagnetic targeting, which enables it to safely perform PCNL procedures with greater accuracy and precision. Plus, the laser fiber is more precise than traditional methods, it greatly reduces possible damage to the surrounding area. Using the controller, doctors are able to employ forceps to collect the pieces. Johnson & Johnson, who owns AURIS, claims that the Monarch’s technology prevents kidney stones from recurring

The hope is that as the Monarch surgical robot becomes more widely available, difficult treatments like the PCNL procedure and lung biopsies will become less costly. Additionally, the Monarch enables early intervention and faster diagnosis, which could result in shorter hospital stays and faster transitions into the next phase of care.

Photonic Contributions To The Monarch Platform

At Photo Solutions, we fabricate peel-and-stick reflective mylar discs for AURIS. The discs are placed in the part of the motor assembly that controls the robotic arm or catheter. The disc has a tolerance of +.040mm / -.000 and a pattern concentricity of <.025mm for highly accurate and precise navigation to the lungs or kidneys.

Surgeons may also employ fluorescent dye as an additional fiducial marker. The fusion of a classic technique, such as an intraoperative dye and light reflection provided by our mylar discs, allows physicians additional confidence and precision as they use the controller to manipulate the Monarch’s robotic arm. 

Explore Our Selection Of Products Aiding Medical Innovations Like The Monarch Platform

We’re proud of Photo Solutions’ components and the part they play in the innovative technology making American healthcare more affordable and accessible.. Encoder discs like the one featured in the Monarch platform are our specialty, but we also fabricate microfluidic devices and ophthalmology components and employ precision machining for the highest quality and performance. Contact us to get a quote on parts for your next innovation.