UAEU device offers an extra hand to surgeons in the operating theatre

A medical device developed at United Arab Emirates University, UAEU, is set to help surgeons navigate complex and delicate procedures by acting as a robotic aid for accuracy.

Created at UAEU’s College of Engineering, the Manipulator for Surgical Tools – for which patent approval has now been secured – employs a novel compactor robotic manipulator, which is specially configured with a remote "centre-of-motion" function that effectively gives the surgeon an extra hand.

The device can easily and accurately manipulate, reorient and lock in place special-purpose surgical tools for minimally-invasive procedures, including those used to treat some forms of cancer, with a freedom range of two degrees.

Capable of being operated manually, autonomously or via remote control, it has been designed in a way that ensures it stays out of the surgeon’s field of view. That aspect is crucial since surgeons work in a confined area, where even the slightest twitch or error is unthinkable.

"The tools which this device can manipulate are used in surgeries such as biopsies, where it helps the surgeon reorient the needle before inserting it," explained Dr. Basem Yousef, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, UAEU.

"It can also be used for a type of radiotherapy called brachytherapy – a procedure used to treat lung, prostate and breast cancer – where radioactive seeds are planted to break up cancer cells. The device helps to implant these seeds. That is the overall aim – to help the surgeon by making the process more efficient and more accurate."

The device comprises a sophisticated joint-link structure and configuration that allow the surgeon to comfortably manoeuvre the tool at a "pivot point" – typically where it enters the patient’s body – while avoiding the keyhole being widened.

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