May 262012
A laparoscopic robotic surgery machine. Patien...

The devices could be used for any type of abdominal surgery

Millions of Europeans undergo abdominal surgery each year to treat a range of different disorders, from cancer and heart disease to obesity. EU-funded researchers are developing innovative micro-robotics and micro-system technologies to make such surgeries less complicated, invasive and costly.

Surgical procedures have improved rapidly in recent years aided by technology that is gradually making the surgeon’s scalpel a thing of the past — increasingly replaced by robotics, miniature devices and innovative procedures that have fewer health risks, speed patient recovery and leave less scarring. But there is always room for further improvement.

‘There are issues with abdominal surgery at present, both with the technology and the procedure,’ says Professor Arianna Menciassi of the BioRobotics Institute at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Italy.

At present, abdominal surgery is either performed by a surgeon manually, using a key-hole technique also known as laparoscopy, or with the aid of a teleoperated robotic device. The most widely used surgical robot for the procedure is highly precise — more so than manual surgery — but it is also bulky, expensive and still requires several incisions to be made in the abdomen.

This current system makes the surgery easier for the surgeon, ‘but it is just as invasive as the traditional laparoscopic procedure for the patient, requiring a minimum of four incisions in the abdomen: two for the robotic tools, one for further manoeuvres and one for a camera,’ Prof Menciassi explains. ‘We set out to develop an alternative system using state-of-the-art micro-robotics and micro-system technologies that would be less expensive and less invasive.’

Read more . . .

via Science Daily

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