Nonmetallic Rigid–Flexible Outer Sheath with Pneumatic Shapelocking Mechanism and Double Curvature Structure
Single port access (SPA) surgery is a laparoscopic procedure using only one transumbilical-placed port. Natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) offers the possibility of surgery without visible scars. To address the access and stability problems in SPA and NOTES, we developed a device called rigid–flexible outer sheath. This sheath can be switched between flexible and rigid modes by a novel pneumatic shapelocking mechanism, and it has a double curvature structure that enables it to flex in four directions at the distal end and three directions on the rigid–flexible shaft. The insertion part of the prototype is 300 mm long with a 20 mm outer diameter, and the part is equipped with four working channels. In vivo experiments using a swine show that the outer sheath has high potential for solving access and stability problems. We expect that the outer sheath will be useful for SPA and NOTES.
KeywordsOuter sheath Pneumatic shapelocking mechanism SPA NOTES MRI-compatible
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