Advances in endoscopic techniques for abdominal procedures continue to reduce the invasiveness of surgery. Gaining access to the peritoneal cavity through small incisions prompted the first significant shift in general surgery. The complete elimination of external incisions through natural orifice access is potentially the next step in reducing patient trauma. While minimally invasive techniques offer significant patient advantages, the procedures are surgically challenging. Robotic surgical systems are being developed that address the visualization and manipulation limitations, but many of these systems remain constrained by the entry incisions. Alternatively, miniature in vivo robots are being developed that are completely inserted into the peritoneal cavity for laparoscopic and natural orifice procedures. These robots can provide vision and task assistance without the constraints of the entry incision, and can reduce the number of incisions required for laparoscopic procedures. In this study, a series of minimally invasive animal-model surgeries were performed using multiple miniature in vivo robots in cooperation with existing laparoscopy and endoscopy tools as well as the da Vinci® Surgical System. These procedures demonstrate that miniature in vivo robots can address the visualization constraints of minimally invasive surgery by providing video feedback and task assistance from arbitrary orientations within the peritoneal cavity.
- Natural orifice
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging