Freehand has launched a crowdfunding campaign to support international expansion for its pioneering robotic surgical camera controllers.  

The Guildford company is seeking up to £1m in investment via Crowdcube to establish a global team of clinical training specialists and expand its distribution network across Europe, Asia and the Americas. 

Freehand’s robots are used in keyhole procedures to provide surgeons with steady images and remove the need for camera-holding assistants to attend operations.  

Surgeons using Freehand gain precise control of the image they see using a head-mounted controller. 

With regulatory clearance for sale in the UK, EU, US and Japan, Freehand’s robots have been used in more than 15,000 laparoscopic and thoracoscopic procedures to date, at hospitals including The Royal London Hospital, Charing Cross Hospital and Royal Papworth Hospital. 

A study at Salisbury District Hospital showed that Freehand-assisted surgeries are more than 20 per cent faster, on average, than those with handheld cameras, and result in fewer and less serious postoperative complications.  

The duration of hospital stays was 25 per cent shorter with Freehand, and patients required fewer additional hospital visits following surgery. 

While the high cost of established robotic systems has limited their adoption to lengthy and complex procedures, Freehand has been developed to provide hospitals with a cost-saving solution to bring the benefits of robotic precision and control to over 12m laparoscopic procedures annually.   

Freehand is partnering with Hyb d.o.o, a manufacturing supplier to blue-chip medical device and automotive organisations, to produce its robots and disposable components. 

CEO Jeremy Russell said: “Hospitals are crying out for cost-effective technologies that improve care and reduce strain on resources.  

Freehand brings the benefits of surgical robotics to millions more operations, delivering better patient outcomes and efficiency gains in keyhole surgery. 

“We’ve put the surgeon in direct control of what they see, improved visibility by eliminating camera shake, drift and rotation, and reduced the number of theatre personnel required to perform an operation.  

Freehand’s combination of clinical and financial benefits is key to achieving rapid growth and adoption with healthcare providers globally.” 

Tan Arulampalam, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon at Colchester General Hospital and Professor of Surgery at Anglia Ruskin University, commented: “Freehand brings benefits to the surgeon, the healthcare system and helps us progress down the path of precision surgery.  

It puts me in complete control with a clear, rock-solid picture, and my attention is dedicated entirely to the patient.  

Freeing up a team member from the operating theatre means we can do more with less and redeploy valuable talent to the frontline.”