Challenges in the Design of Laparoscopic Tools
The need to minimize trauma in surgical interventions has led to a continuous evolution of surgical techniques. The robotization of minimally invasive surgeries (MIS) through robotized instruments, provided with 2 or 3 degrees of freedom, aims to increase dexterity, accuracy… and thus, assist the surgeons. This work presents the challenges faced during the development of a surgical instrument, from the work carried out in the design and implementation of a complete surgical robotic system. After an overview of the surgical instruments associated to the alternative techniques in MIS, the process of designing laparoscopic instruments for the developed robotic system is described. Our approach focusses on the technological challenges of achieving a user-friendly laparoscopy, affordable for hospitals. These include the complexity of designing small-sized tools, which match the surgical requirements and introduce additional features, as haptic feedback. In addition, we explain the non-technological obstacles overcome to satisfy the commercialization requirements. The huge number of patents in this field acts as a spider web, which led us to seek for novelty. Although specific parts of the robotic system were not the core of our project, we needed to fit their design and obtain our own patents to grant the complete robotic system was free of patent infringement. On the other hand, complex regulatory procedures turn the whole commercialization process dilated and tedious. Finally, we present some of our ongoing research to improve performance of this kind of robot assisted surgery, as well as to other surgical fields.
KeywordsMinimally invasive surgery Laparoscopic instruments Teleoperated surgery
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