Date: 07 Dec 2005

Mobile in vivo camera robots provide sole visual feedback for abdominal exploration and cholecystectomy

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Abstract

The use of small incisions in laparoscopy reduces patient trauma, but also limits the surgeon’s ability to view and touch the surgical environment directly. These limitations generally restrict the application of laparoscopy to procedures less complex than those performed during open surgery. Although current robot-assisted laparoscopy improves the surgeon’s ability to manipulate and visualize the target organs, the instruments and cameras remain fundamentally constrained by the entry incisions. This limits tool tip orientation and optimal camera placement. The current work focuses on developing a new miniature mobile in vivo adjustable-focus camera robot to provide sole visual feedback to surgeons during laparoscopic surgery. A miniature mobile camera robot was inserted through a trocar into the insufflated abdominal cavity of an anesthetized pig. The mobile robot allowed the surgeon to explore the abdominal cavity remotely and view trocar and tool insertion and placement without entry incision constraints. The surgeon then performed a cholecystectomy using the robot camera alone for visual feedback. This successful trial has demonstrated that miniature in vivo mobile robots can provide surgeons with sufficient visual feedback to perform common procedures while reducing patient trauma.