The cutting-edge biocompatible near-infrared 3D tracking system used to guide the suturing in the first smart tissue autonomous robot (STAR) surgery has the potential to improve manual and robot-assisted surgery and interventions through unobstructed 3D visibility and enhanced accuracy, according to a study published in the March 2017 issue of IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. The study successfully demonstrates feasibility in live subjects (in-vivo) and demonstrates 3D tracking of tissue and surgical tools with millimeter accuracy in ex-vivo tests. More accurate and consistent suturing helps reduce leakage, which can improve surgical outcomes.
Authored by the development team from Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Health System and funded by the National Institutes of Health, the study explains the design of the 3D tracking system with near-infrared fluorescent (NIRF) markers and, using robotic experiments, compares its tracking accuracies against standard optical tracking methods. At speeds of 1 mm/second, the team observed tracking accuracies of 1.61 mm that degraded only to 1.71 mm when the markers were covered in blood and tissue.
Image Credit: Children’s National Health System