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Abdominal surgical procedures have been greatly advanced through the development of new technology and techniques. At one point, all surgeries would have been done using an open procedure. These open surgeries cause great trauma on the patient and lead to increased pain, scarring, and downtime. A shift toward Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) has been gaining momentum in recent years. Even within MIS, the incision size and number of incisions have been decreasing with each new advancement, however, with each new technique, there are new constraints placed on dexterity and visibility.
One method for increasing the surgeon’s dexterity and visibility during MIS, while maintaining few, small incisions, is to augment the surgeon’s abilities through a robotic platform. Only the relatively recent designs have achieved sizes that enable effective surgery within the abdomen. While the functionality of the robot has been improved through each iteration, the techniques and methods for inserting the robots have been virtually an untouched subject. Nearly two dozen insertion devices were designed and tested in both bench top and in vivo experiments. Through the development of these devices, two dozen concepts were identified as being guidelines that are useful in the design of future devices. Based on the initial set of devices that were created and the lessons learned from each of them, recommendations are made, and two additional devices based on those recommendations were designed and tested. The insertion experiments have shown a promising progression towards devices that fulfill the design requirements in a practical package.