Less Invasive Robotic Surgery
According to Columbia University, “a collaboration between Columbia Professors Peter Allen (Computer Science, Columbia Engineering), Nabil Simaan (formerly Mechanical Engineering at Columbia, now at Vanderbilt) and Dennis Fowler (Surgery, Columbia University Medical Center) has resulted in an innovative new approach to minimally invasive surgery. They have developed a novel robotic platform for minimally invasive single-port surgery—Insertable Robotic Effector Platform (IREP)—that they say is the world’s smallest in required diameter (∅15 mm) that can enter the body while enabling dual-arm-dexterous operation, 3-D visualization, and automated instrument tracking.”
The IREP system is a new frontier in robotic surgery which could significantly decrease the cost of robotic surgery. “Instead of multi-million-dollar large robotic systems, this is a low-cost, minimally invasive, compact system that includes state-of-the-art robotic arms and surgical instrumentation with 3-D stereo-vision imaging and a suite of intelligent software for control and visualization to assist the surgeon,” says Peter Allen.
The IREP consists of a collapsible configuration for insertion into natural orifices or small incision. The dual arm configuration allows 7° of motion per arm and is equipped with a binocular camera for 3-D visualization. “The unique 3-D vision system, which includes two controllable miniature cameras inside the body, can be used to automatically track anatomical structures and surgical tools during a procedure, providing real-time in-vivo viewing for the surgeon. Using stereo reconstruction methods, surgeons can also model the patient’s internal anatomy and register it with pre-operative CT, Ultrasound, or MRI scans.”
[Image Credit: Columbia University]