Is Robotics the Future of Vitreoretional Surgery?

March 5, 2012

In conventional vitreoretinal surgery, surgeons create two insertion points in the eye to insert trocars. Surgical instruments are then inserted through the trocars to reach the target area. Because vitreoretinal surgeons work on very small and delicate tissues such as the macula or retinal veins, achieving high accuracy and precision in this surgery is very difficult to achieve due to the poor maneuverability of surgical instruments, surgeons’ hand tremors, and limited visual information.

In the January 2012 issue of the International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery, Japanese researchers from the School of Engineering at the University of Tokyo, reported on the results of their study to develop a microsurgical robot for vitreoretinal surgery. The goal was to demonstrate that robotics may improve vitreoretinal surgery by steadying hand motion, thereby reducing negative outcomes.

The device consisted of a slave manipulator with a tool change mechanism for switching surgical instruments. The slave manipulator is controlled by the surgeon using a master manipulator consisting of multiple joints.

The robotic system was used by a surgeon to successfully perform microcannulation on a pig’s eye.

Researchers reported that the microsurgical robotic vitreoretinal surgical system showed superior operability compared with a traditional manual procedure, and it demonstrated sufficient potential to warrant further testing in animal trials to assess its clinical feasibility.

Click here to read the abstract.




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