Robotics and systems technology for advanced endoscopic procedures: experiences in general surgery.Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 1999 Nov; 16 Suppl 2:S97-105.EJ
The advent of endoscopic techniques changed surgery in many regards. This paper intends to describe an overview about technologies to facilitate endoscopic surgery. The systems described have been developed for the use in general surgery, but an easy application also in the field of cardiac surgery seems realistic. The introduction of system technology and robotic technology enables today to design a highly ergonomic solo-surgery platform. To relief the surgeon from fatigue we developed a new chair dedicated to the functional needs of endoscopic surgery. The foot pedals for high frequency, suction and irrigation are integrated into the basis of the chair. The chair is driven by electric motors controlled with an additional foot pedal joystick to achieve the desired position in the OR. A major enhancement for endoscopic technology is the introduction of robotic technology to design assisting devices for solo-surgery and manipulators for microsurgical instrumentation. A further step in the employment of robotic technology is the design of 'master-slave manipulators' to provide the surgeon with additional degrees of freedom of instrumentation. In 1996 a first prototype of an endoscopic manipulator system. named ARTEMIS, could be used in experimental applications. The system consists of a user station (master) and an instrument station (slave). The surgeon sits at a console which integrates endoscopic monitors, communication facilities and two master devices to control the two slave arms which are mounted to the operating table. Clinical use of the system, however, will require further development in the area of slave mechanics and the control system. Finally the implementation of telecommunication technology in combination with robotic instruments will open new frontiers, such as teleconsulting, teleassistance and telemanipulation.