Robotic microlaryngeal surgery: a technical feasibility study using the daVinci surgical robot and an airway mannequin

Neil G Hockstein, J Paul Nolan, Bert W O'malley, Y Joseph Woo
Laryngoscope 2005, 115 (5): 780-5

OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: The trend toward minimally invasive surgery has led to the development and mastery of endoscopic and laparoscopic surgical techniques. These minimally invasive approaches, which only two decades ago were either novel or experimental, are now mainstream. More recently, robot-assisted surgery has evolved as an adjunct to open and endoscopic techniques. Surgical robots are now approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for a variety of thoracic and abdominal/pelvic surgical procedures. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the technical feasibility of robot-assisted microlaryngeal surgery.

STUDY DESIGN: Experimental surgical manipulation of the larynx in an airway mannequin with a surgical robot.

METHODS: A variety of laryngoscopes and mouthgags, coupled with the daVinci Surgical Robot's (Intuitive Surgical, Sunnyvale, CA) 0-degree and 30-degree, two-dimensional and three-dimensional endoscopes, were utilized to optimize visualization of the larynx in an airway mannequin. Five millimeter and 8 mm microinstruments compatible with the daVinci robot were utilized to manipulate different elements of the larynx. Experiments were recorded with both still and video photography.

RESULTS: The endoscope and robotic arms of the daVinci robot are well suited to airway surgery.

CONCLUSIONS: Robot-assisted laryngeal surgery can be performed with currently available technology. The potential for fine manipulation of tissues, increased freedom of instrument movement, and endolaryngeal suturing may increase the precision of endoscopic laryngeal microsurgery and offers the potential to increase the variety of laryngeal procedures that can be performed endoscopically.

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