During laparoscopic surgery, video camera becomes a surgeon's eyes since the surgeon uses an image from the video camera positioned inside the patient's body to perform the procedure. The greatest limitation to these minimally invasive approaches is the impairment or complete lack of tactile sensation normally used to assist in surgical dissection and decision making. We propose to develop a tactile sensing system to be used in urogynecological laparoscopic surgery for tactile imaging and tissue characterization (elasticity, structure boundaries, and blood vessel detection) which will be imposed on the video image at area of interest in real time. In Phase I, we will design and build a ?-prototype of Laparoscopic Tactile Imager (LTI) with a probe comprising of a tactile sensor array and a motion tracking system. Developed LTI software will support data acquisition, processing and combining tissue video image with tactile image. We plan to fabricate a setup mimicking the female pelvic floor for LTI bench verification and surgeon training. After completion of certified testing for electrical safety, electromagnetic compatibility and sterilization, a pilot clinical stdy will provide assessment of feasibility and imaging performance of the proposed approach for pelvic floor surgery.
This project targets the development of Laparoscopic Tactile Imager for urogynecological surgery. It will allow the tactile perception which is currently missin in laparoscopy. The real time fusion of video stream from laparoscope with the tactile sensation data for a region of interest will increase the surgical accuracy and extend the technical capability of the laparoscopic surgery.