Minimally invasive endo-surgical, pelvic, abdominal, and thoracic procedures, for example urologic, gynaecological and hepatobiliary procedures among others.
Although Laparoscopy has become a surgical practice gold standard, laparoscopic instrument handling is challenging and counterintuitive when compared to open surgery (e.g., indirect visualization via a laparoscope, fulcrum effect, the lack of haptic feedback).
While current commercially available robotic-assisted surgery (RAS) systems allow intuitive instrument handling, immersive 3-D visualization and precise bimanual dexterity, the adoption of RAS systems is still rather limited notably because of their high capital cost, large footprint in the operating room/long setup times and lack of haptic feedback to the surgeon. Therefore a need exists for a system combining the benefits and sensation of open surgery and minimally invasive solution offered by RAS.
Allowing surgical instruments to be manipulated within an anatomical cavity. The actuators are directly connected via mechanical linkages (cables/tendons) to one or multiple over-tubes for instruments.
Exchangeable surgical instrumentation
The over-tubes allow for attachment of one or multiple instruments. These include compatibility with any commercially available flexible surgical instrument and endoscope.
Offering a direct pathway for transferring forces and motion between the external actuators and the surgical instruments within the anatomical cavity, reducing friction and increasing positional and force sensing accuracy. The use of needle-sized (~1 mm diameter) ports enables access without creating or leaving visible scars.
A lightweight external modular scaffold, in close contact with the patient’s anatomy to fixate the actuators and any additional sensors/instruments. The spatial arrangement and angulation of the actuators and ports, and the size and rigidity of the scaffold/frame can be easily modified and controlled based on the type of surgery required.
See the technology in action:
- Ultra-minimally invasive (scar-less) surgery
- Dexterity & force exertions
- Sensitivity (haptic feedback, safe autonomous motion)
- Fast conversion to open surgery
- Workspace customisability for wide range of surgical applications
- MRI compatible
- Cost-effective and reduced footprint
- Proof-of-concept stage (TRL-3) demonstrating concept feasibility
- Lab based tests demonstrating instrument dexterity and high-force sensitivity.
- Design optimization software developed for procedure-dependent workspace customisation
- Animal studies to be conducted
Intellectual property information
PCT Patent Application (WO2019207322) published.
- A. Saracino, T. J. C. O. Vrielink, A. Menciassi, E. Sinibaldi, and G. P. Mylonas, "Haptic intracorporeal palpation using a cable-driven parallel robot: a user study." IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering,, pp. 1-1, 2020, doi: 10.1109/TBME.2020.2987646.
- Timo Oude Vrielink. “Cable-driven parallel mechanisms for minimally invasive robotic surgery”, PhD Thesis, Imperial College London. 2019
- Miyashita, Kiyoteru, Timo Oude Vrielink, and George Mylonas. "A cable-driven parallel manipulator with force sensing capabilities for high-accuracy tissue endomicroscopy." International journal of computer assisted radiology and surgery 13.5 (2018): 659-669.
Dr George Mylonas
George is the Director of the Human-centred Automation Robotic and Monitoring in Surgery laboratory, at the Hamlyn Centre, Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College. He is leading research in the areas of surgical robotics, minimal access surgical technology, cyber-physical systems, perceptual human-machine interfaces, and smart operating theatres.
Dr Timo Oude Vrielink
Timo is a Mechanical Engineer and Industrial Designer who worked during his PhD at the Department of Surgery & Cancer at Imperial College London on the development of minimally invasive surgical robots. Currently he is working at the Leiden University Medical Centre as project lead on the clinical translation of medical technology and is an EIT Health Innovation Fellow.
Dr Fernando Avila-Rencoret
MD PhD: Fernando is a MD, MRes and PhD candidate (Medical Robotics) at Imperial College London and a MIT Technology Review’s Innovator under 35. He is currently a Senior Consultant in Clinical Systems Engineering at The Technology Partnership plc.