The number of complications following keyhole surgery can be reduced by giving the surgeons a better feeling of how hard they are grasping the tissue with their operating instruments. This is made possible by designing the instrument in such a way that it sends tangible feedback signals to the handle held by the surgeon. Delft University of Technology researcher Eleonora Westebring-van der Putten has developed a working prototype for this.
Keyhole surgery has rapidly gained in popularity in hospitals. An exploratory operation known as a laparoscopy when carried out in the abdominal cavity is generally less invasive for the patient. But a laparoscopy calls for different manual skills than 'ordinary' open surgery. Training in these skills is therefore essential for the prevention of complications.
Problems with keyhole surgery partly arise because it is very difficult to gauge the force of the surgeon's grasp. The surgeon is therefore less able to determine whether he or she is grasping the tissue too hard or too gently.
Industrial designer and human movement scientist Eleonora Westebring-van der Putten's research is focused on the improvement of grasp control and the learning of the associated skills. The solution is to give the surgeon tangible physical feedback through his or her instrument. "Experiments have shown that augmented feedback on the grasp force is a good way for surgeons of all levels to gain a better command of gauging laparoscopic grasp force."
Westebring has therefore developed a working prototype of a laparoscopic grasp instrument that gives augmented tangible feedback on the amount of grasp force being applied. This prototype therefore gives the surgeon the required tangible feedback.
"There are sensors in the tip of the instrument that measure how hard the surgeon is grasping. This information is fed back to the handle, which contains a cyli
|Contact: Ilona van den Brink|
Delft University of Technology