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VISE Project Vault – Manual Surgical Tools with Robot-like Dexterity

Posted by on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 in News, TIPs 2015.

Patrick_headshotWritten by Patrick Anderson, Vanderbilt University doctoral candidate in Mechanical Engineering

In the Medical Engineering and Discovery (MED) Lab, we work with surgeons to design surgical robots and medical devices that make surgery less invasive, more accurate and more effective. One project that I have worked on in the MED Lab is a laparoscopic tool that provides surgeons with better manual dexterity at the surgical site. Traditional manual laparoscopic tools are challenging to use, especially when performing complicated tasks like suturing. In particular, it is very difficult to throw sutures across incisions that are perpendicular to your tool.

We worked with Duke Herrell, a urologic surgeon at Vanderbilt, to develop a completely mechanical laparoscopic tool that provides the surgeon with better dexterity. Like the da Vinci surgical robot, our device has a tiny wrist at the end. The tool handle has a user interface joint that allows the surgeon to control the wrist from outside the body. Together, the wrist and the user interface make it possible for surgeons to perform challenges maneuvers with a low-cost tool. Now, we are looking for commercial partners who can get the tool out into real operating rooms.

Learn more about the MED Lab, a Vanderbilt Instittue for Surgery and Engineering (VISE) affiliated lab by clicking HERE.

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