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Jan 26, 2022

Robot performs first laparoscopic surgery without human help

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI

A robot has performed laparoscopic surgery on the soft tissue of a pig without the guiding hand of a human—a significant step in robotics toward fully automated surgery on humans. Designed by a team of Johns Hopkins University researchers, the Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) is described today in Science Robotics.

“Our findings show that we can automate one of the most intricate and delicate tasks in surgery: the reconnection of two ends of an intestine. The STAR performed the procedure in four animals and it produced significantly better results than humans performing the same procedure,” said senior author Axel Krieger, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Johns Hopkins’ Whiting School of Engineering.

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.

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