Minimally invasive surgery has been introduced to various surgical fields for its benefits such as smaller scars and less pain as compared to open surgery. Highly skilled surgical techniques are required for surgeons to conduct minimally invasive surgery with fewer ports, whereas minimally invasive surgery has a number of advantages for patients. Single-incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS), in which surgical instruments and a laparoscope are inserted through a single port, has better cosmetic results than conventional multi-incision surgery; moreover, the scar is invisible when the port is opened in navel. However, instrument collisions and visual defects often occur due to the limited space of the single opening. We propose a new surgical approach entitled “virtual incision” that enables surgeons to increase the number of openings virtually. Using our approach, we have developed two types of master-slave surgical robot systems for SILS—remote-operated and local-operated systems—which have operability close to that of multiple-incision surgery. Through evaluation of these systems, we demonstrated that the visual field and operability during virtual incision surgery are similar to those of conventional multi-incision surgery. Our surgical approach can be applied to not only single-incision surgery but also multi-incision surgery, and is very likely to improve operability.
Part of the book: Surgical Robotics