In four experiments on pig tissues, the robot excelled at suturing two ends of intestine—one of the most intricate and delicate tasks in abdominal surgery.
A robot has performed laparoscopic surgery on the soft tissue of a pig without the guiding hand of a human—a significant step toward fully automated surgery on humans. Designed by a team of Johns Hopkins University researchers, the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot, or STAR, is described today in Science Robotics.
The robot excelled at intestinal anastomosis, a procedure that requires a high level of repetitive motion and precision. Connecting two ends of an intestine is arguably the most challenging step in gastrointestinal surgery, requiring a surgeon to suture with high accuracy and consistency. Even the slightest hand tremor or misplaced stitch can result in a leak that could have catastrophic complications for the patient.
new features for enhanced autonomy and improved surgical precision, including specialized suturing tools and state-of-the art imaging systems that provide more accurate visualizations of the surgical field.
Soft-tissue surgery is especially hard for robots because of its unpredictability, forcing them to be able to adapt quickly to handle unexpected obstacles, Krieger said. The STAR has a novel control system that can adjust the surgical plan in real time, just as a human surgeon would.
Release date: 26 January 2022
Source: Johns Hopkins University