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Dexterous miniature robot for advanced minimally invasive surgery

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This study demonstrates the feasibility of using a miniature robot to perform complex, single-incision, minimal access surgery. Instrument positioning and lack of triangulation complicate single-incision laparoscopic surgery, and open surgical procedures are highly invasive. Using minimally invasive techniques with miniature robotic platforms potentially offers significant clinical benefits. A miniature robot platform has been designed to perform advanced laparoscopic surgery with speed, dexterity, and tissue-handling capabilities comparable to standard laparoscopic instruments working through trocars. The robotic platform includes a dexterous in vivo robot and a remote surgeon interface console. For this study, a standard laparoscope was mounted to the robot to provide vision and lighting capabilities. In addition, multiple robots could be inserted through a single incision rather than the traditional use of four or five different ports. These additional robots could provide capabilities such as tissue retraction and supplementary visualization or lighting. The efficacy of this robot has been demonstrated in a nonsurvival cholecystectomy in a porcine model. The procedure was performed through a single large transabdominal incision, with supplementary retraction being provided by standard laparoscopic tools. This study demonstrates the feasibility of using a dexterous robot platform for performing single-incision, advanced laparoscopic surgery.

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This research is supported in part by NASA EPSCoR, NRI-Nebraska Research Initiative, Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, and the NASA-Nebraska Space Grant Consortium grants and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.


Amy Lehman, Nathan Wood, and Matthew Goede have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose. Dmitry Oleynikov has the following financial information to disclose: Covidien: Educational Grant; Life Cell: Educational Grant, Consulting; Gore: Educational Grant; Storz: Educational Grant; Virtual Incision: Stockholder. Shane Farritor has the following financial information to disclose: Virtual Incision: Stockholder.

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Correspondence to Dmitry Oleynikov.

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Lehman, A.C., Wood, N.A., Farritor, S. et al. Dexterous miniature robot for advanced minimally invasive surgery. Surg Endosc 25, 119–123 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-010-1143-6

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  • In vivo
  • Robots
  • Single incision
  • Laparoscopy
  • Minimally invasive surgery