Date: 08 Mar 2005

Miniature robots can assist in Laparoscopic cholecystectomy

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Laparoscopy reduces patient trauma but eliminates the surgeon’s ability to directly view and touch the surgical environment. Although current robot-assisted laparoscopy improves the surgeon’s ability to manipulate and visualize the target organs, the instruments and cameras remain constrained by the entry incision. This limits tool tip orientation and optimal camera placement. This article focuses on developing miniature in vivo robots to assist surgeons during laparoscopic surgery by providing an enhanced field of view from multiple angles and dexterous manipulators not constrained by the abdominal wall fulcrum effect. Miniature camera robots were inserted through a small incision into the insufflated abdominal cavity of an anesthetized pig. Trocar insertion and other laparoscopic tool placements were then viewed with these robotic cameras. The miniature robots provided additional camera angles that improved surgical visualization during a cholecystectomy. These successful prototype trials have demonstrated that miniature in vivo robots can provide surgeons with additional visual information that can increase procedural safety.