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Development of a compact laparoscope manipulator (P-arm)



Laparoscope manipulating robots are useful for maintaining a stable view during a laparoscopic operation and as a substitute for the surgeon who controls the laparoscope. However, there are several problems to be solved. A large apparatus sometimes interferes with the surgeon. The setting and repositioning is awkward. Furthermore, the initial and maintenance costs are expensive. This study was designed to develop a new laparoscope manipulating robot to overcome those problems.


We developed a compact robot applicable for various types of laparoscopic surgery with less expensive materials. The robot was evaluated by performing an in vitro laparoscopic cholecystectomy using extracted swine organs. Then, the availability of the robot to various operations was validated by performing a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, anterior resection of the rectum, and distal gastrectomy using a living swine. The reliability of the system was tested by long-time continuous running.


A compact and lightweight laparoscope manipulating robot by the name of P-arm was developed. The surgical time of an in vitro laparoscopic cholecystectomy with and without the P-arm was not different. The three types of operations were accomplished successfully. During the entire procedure, the P-arm worked without trouble and did not interfere with the surgeons. Continuous 8-h operating tests were performed three times and neither discontinuance nor trouble occurred with the system.


The P-arm worked steadily for various swine operations, without interfering with surgeon’s work.

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This research was supported by “Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology: Yuragi Project” of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan, and Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Representative Researcher A.N. Project Number19206047). We cordially appreciate the cooperation of Mr. Takeharu Kobayashi, Mr. Kohei Kazuhara, Mr. Takaharu Ichihara, and Mr. Naoto Kurashita of Daiken Medical Co. Ltd. Also, we would like to express our sincere gratitude that the surgeons of Osaka University Hospital agreed to help our research. No authors have any financial involvement in any organization with a financial interest in the subject matter or materials discussed in the manuscript. A part of this work was presented at the annual meeting of Society of American Endoscopic and Laparoscopic Surgeons for Gastroenterology, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2008, and the annual meeting of Computer-Assisted Radiology and Surgery Barcelona, Spain, 2008.

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Correspondence to Mitsugu Sekimoto.

Additional information

The fundamental concept of the robot was made by M.S. and A.N. A.N. was responsible for the fabrication of the robot. The characteristics of the robot reflected the assessment of the demands of the surgeons by M.S. and his own opinion.

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Sekimoto, M., Nishikawa, A., Taniguchi, K. et al. Development of a compact laparoscope manipulator (P-arm). Surg Endosc 23, 2596 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-009-0460-0

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  • Robot
  • Manipulator
  • Laparoscopic surgery
  • Disposable robot
  • Robotically assisted surgery
  • Robotic surgery