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Research & DevelopmentJohnson & Johnson’s Ethicon undertakes first robot-assisted kidney stone removalJohnson & Johnson (J&J) medtech company, Ethicon, has announced its first robotic-assisted kidney stone removal using its Monarch platform.The Monarch platform was developed by Auris Health, a subsidiary of Ethicon, and received FDA clearance for endourological procedures in May 2022. The University of California, Irvine’s UCI Health utilised this technology to undertake the first procedure with the Monarch platform as part of a clinical study.The procedure was the first robotically assisted electromagnetic (EM)-guided percutaneous access and mini-percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) procedure. The clinical study was collaborative with co-investigator Dr Mihir Desai from the University of Southern California (USC).Dr Jaime Landman, chair of the UCI School of Medicine Department of Urology and director of the UCI Health Kidney Stone & Kidney Disease Services, commented: “This clinical study is the first in the world to research and demonstrate potential for improved navigation, access, clearance and control in mini-PCNL procedures using the Monarch platform for urology. In addition to potentially helping urologists achieve stone-free patients in a single procedure, this approach could help reduce the need for retreatment after kidney stone removal and decrease risks and complication rates.”“After years of work, we are thrilled to be a part of this first clinical series, which introduces a new treatment to improve outcomes for patients in need,” Landman continued.Dr Mihir Desai, USC, added: “The prevalence of kidney stones remains high, and many urologists seek a new treatment option that reduces overall retreatment and complication rates. In patients who require treatment through surgery, close to one in two will require retreatment within five years.”