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In vivo abdominal surgical robotics: Tissue mechanics modeling, robotic design, experimentation, and analysis

Mark E Rentschler, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Miniature robotic systems were developed to be placed in vivo to assist surgeons during laparoscopic surgery. These robots were developed to improve surgical views from within the abdominal cavity and to provide dexterous manipulators that are not constrained by the entry incision. ^ Several fixed-base camera robots were developed. Some systems had a fixed orientation, while others provided adjustable camera angles. All systems provided video feedback. The first robot provided wireless video feedback, while a second provided pan and tilt motion for overall viewing of the cavity. A third generation design incorporated a mechanism designed to adjust the camera focus. ^ Mobile robotic systems were also developed. Liver mechanics were studied to develop a model to predict wheel performance. Combined with laboratory bench-top testing, this model helped predict a suitable wheel design for traversing the abdominal organs without tissue damage. The mobile robots consisted of two wheels and a tail to permit forward, reverse and turning motion. Several of these designs incorporated on-board adjustable-focus camera systems. Other designs included a biopsy grasper, while still others incorporated a completely wireless design. ^ Further animal in vivo testing of these systems showed the usefulness of such devices. A porcine gallbladder was removed using only visual feedback from a mobile camera robot, while a canine prostate and kidney were removed with the aid of a fixed base camera robot. Additional tests showed the ability to biopsy porcine hepatic tissue and navigate the abdominal environment with wireless control and feedback. These experiments help show that in vivo surgical robots can and will be invaluable surgical assistants in the near future. ^

Subject Area

Engineering, Biomedical|Engineering, Mechanical|Health Sciences, Medicine and Surgery

Recommended Citation

Rentschler, Mark E, "In vivo abdominal surgical robotics: Tissue mechanics modeling, robotic design, experimentation, and analysis" (2006). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3208116.