Evaluation of a novel flexible snake robot for endoluminal surgery
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Endoluminal therapeutic procedures such as endoscopic submucosal dissection are increasingly attractive given the shift in surgical paradigm towards minimally invasive surgery. This novel three-channel articulated robot was developed to overcome the limitations of the flexible endoscope which poses a number of challenges to endoluminal surgery. The device enables enhanced movement in a restricted workspace, with improved range of motion and with the accuracy required for endoluminal surgery.
To evaluate a novel flexible robot for therapeutic endoluminal surgery.
Targeting and navigation tasks of the robot were performed to explore the range of motion and retroflexion capabilities. Complex endoluminal tasks such as endoscopic mucosal resection were also simulated.
Main outcome measurements
Successful completion, accuracy and time to perform the bench-top tasks were the main outcome measures.
The robot ranges of movement, retroflexion and navigation capabilities were demonstrated. The device showed significantly greater accuracy of targeting in a retroflexed position compared to a conventional endoscope.
Bench-top study and small study sample.
We were able to demonstrate a number of simulated endoscopy tasks such as navigation, targeting, snaring and retroflexion. The improved accuracy of targeting whilst in a difficult configuration is extremely promising and may facilitate endoluminal surgery which has been notoriously challenging with a conventional endoscope.
KeywordsColorectal cancer GI cancer Gut Technical endoscopy General endoscopy Therapeutic/Palliation endoscopy
Endoscopic submucosal dissection
Degrees of freedom
This project was funded by a Wellcome Trust grant (P13145).
Dr Nisha Patel, Mr Carlo A Seneci, Dr Jianzhong Shang, Konrad Leibrandt, Professor Guang-Zhong Yang, Professor Lord Ara Darzi of Denham and Professor Julian Teare have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.
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