Designing a robotic port system for laparo-endoscopic single-site surgery
Leibniz University Hannover, 2019
Current research and development in the field of surgical interventions aim to reduce the invasiveness by using few incisions or natural orifices in the body to access the surgical site. Considering surgeries in the abdominal cavity, the Laparo-Endoscopic Single-site Surgery (LESS) can be performed through a single incision in the navel, reducing blood loss, post-operative trauma, and improving the cosmetic outcome. However, LESS results in less intuitive instrument control, impaired ergonomic, loss of depth and haptic perception, and restriction of instrument positioning by a single incision. Robot-assisted surgery addresses these shortcomings, by introducing highly articulated, flexible robotic instruments, ergonomic control consoles with 3D visualization, and intuitive instrument control algorithms. The flexible robotic instruments are usually introduced into the abdomen via a rigid straight port, such that the positioning of the tools and therefore the accessibility of anatomical structures is still constrained by the incision location. To address this limitation, articulated ports for LESS are proposed by recent research works. However, they focus on only a few aspects, which are relevant to the surgery, such that a design considering all requirements for LESS has not been proposed yet. This partially originates in the lack of anatomical data of specific applications. Further, no general design guidelines exist and only a few evaluation metrics are proposed. To target these challenges, this thesis focuses on the design of an articulated robotic port for LESS partial nephrectomy. A novel approach is introduced, acquiring the available abdominal workspace, integrated into the surgical workflow. Based on several generated patient datasets and developed metrics, design parameter optimization is conducted. Analyzing the surgical procedure, a comprehensive requirement list is established and applied to design a robotic system, proposing a tendon-driven continuum robot as the articulated port structure. Especially, the aspects of stiffening and sterile design are addressed. In various experimental evaluations, the reachability, the stiffness, and the overall design are evaluated. The findings identify layer jamming as the superior stiffening method. Further, the articulated port is proven to enhance the accessibility of anatomical structures and offer a patient and incision location independent design.