Comparison of two cable configurations in 3D printed steerable instruments for minimally invasive surgery

C. Culmone*, R.I.B. van Starkenburg, G. Smit, P. Breedveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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In laparoscopy, a small incision size improves the surgical outcome but increases at the same time the rigidity of the instrument, with consequent impairment of the surgeon’s maneuverability. Such reduction introduces new challenges, such as the loss of wrist articulation or the impossibility of overcoming obstacles. A possible approach is using multi-steerable cable-driven instruments fully mechanical actuated, which allow great maneuverability while keeping the wound small. In this work, we compared the usability of the two most promising cable configurations in 3D printed multi-steerable instruments: a parallel configuration with all cables running straight from the steerable shaft to the handle; and a multi configuration with straight cables in combination with helical cables. Twelve participants were divided into two groups and asked to orient the instrument shaft and randomly hit six targets following the instructions in a laparoscopic simulator. Each participant carried out four trials (two trials for each instrument) with 12 runs per trial. The average task performance time showed a significant decrease over the first trial for both configurations. The decrease was 48% for the parallel and 41% for the multi configuration. Improvement of task performance times reached a plateau in the second trial with both instruments. The participants filled out a TLX questionnaire after each trial. The questionnaire showed a lower burden score for the parallel compared to multi configuration (23% VS 30%). Even though the task performance time for both configurations was comparable, a final questionnaire showed that 10 out of 12 participants preferred the parallel configuration due to a more intuitive hand movement and the possibility of individually orienting the distal end of the steerable shaft
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0275535
Number of pages20
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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