From the Journals

Robotic guide hits the mark in abdominal surgeries


Key clinical point: The Autolap system was a safe and effective way to manage a robotic camera during a range of abdominal surgical procedures.

Major finding: An image-based steering device for a robotic camera was accurate more than 90% of the time when used to guide surgeons.

Data source: The data come from a review of 66 abdominal surgeries in adults.

Disclosures: The study was sponsored by MST – Medical Surgery Technologies – maker of the device. Dr. Wijsman is a clinical field engineer for the company.



More than 90% of the image-based movements of a new robotic camera steering device were accurate in a study of 66 procedures sponsored by the device maker. The findings were published online in Surgical Endoscopy.

“A robotic laparoscopic positioner can perform the task of the surgical assistant and enables the surgeon to control camera movements personally,” wrote Paul J. M. Wijsman, MD, of Meander Medical Center, Amersfoort, the Netherlands, and colleagues (Surg. Endosc 2017. doi: 10.1007/s00464-017-5957-3).

To assess the accuracy of an image-guided robotic control system (AutoLap, MST, Israel), the researchers conducted a multicenter study of patients scheduled for abdominal surgeries including hernia repair and gallbladder removal. The primary outcomes were the number of successful movements and adverse events. The average age of the patients was 49 years, and approximately 75% were women.

“A movement is deemed successful if the laparoscope reached the desired position, which was verbally verified with the surgeon after each movement,” the researchers wrote. An average of 99 joystick movements and 12.8 “follow-me” movements were made during a procedure. The nine surgeons who participated in the study reported an average satisfaction of 4 on a scale of 1-5. Overall, no adverse events related to the procedures were reported.

The operational times using the robotic device were consistent with previous studies, the researchers said. The average time to set up the system was 4 minutes.

The findings were limited by several factors, including the limitations of the system and possible bias of the participants; factors affecting image quality included fogging and blurring of the lens, the researchers said. However, the results suggest that a robotic system such as AutoLap may have economic value by reducing the number of surgical team members needed for a procedure, and more research is needed to determine both economic and ergonomic benefits, they noted.

The study was sponsored by MST – Medical Surgery Technologies. Dr. Wijsman is a clinical field engineer for the company.

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