Biaxial sensing suture breakage warning system for robotic surgery
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The number of procedures performed with robotic surgery may exceed one million globally in 2018. The continual lack of haptic feedback, however, forces surgeons to rely on visual cues in order to avoid breaking sutures due to excessive applied force. To mitigate this problem, the authors developed and validated a novel grasper-integrated system with biaxial shear sensing and haptic feedback to warn the operator prior to anticipated suture breakage. Furthermore, the design enables facile suture manipulation without a degradation in efficacy, as determined via measured tightness of resulting suture knots. Biaxial shear sensors were integrated with a da Vinci robotic surgical system. Novice subjects (n = 17) were instructed to tighten 10 knots, five times with the Haptic Feedback System (HFS) enabled, five times with the system disabled. Seven suture failures occurred in trials with HFS enabled while seventeen occurred in trials without feedback. The biaxial shear sensing system reduced the incidence of suture failure by 59% (p = 0.0371). It also resulted in 25% lower average applied force in comparison to trials without feedback (p = 0.00034), which is relevant because average force was observed to play a role in suture breakage (p = 0.03925). An observed 55% decrease in standard deviation of knot quality when using the HFS also indicates an improvement in consistency when using the feedback system. These results suggest this system may improve outcomes related to knot tying tasks in robotic surgery and reduce instances of suture failure while not degrading the quality of knots produced.
KeywordsHaptic feedback Shear sensor Robotic surgery Force sensor Haptics Da Vinci
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