Medical Manipulators for Surgical Applications

Medical Manipulators for Surgical Applications

Xing-guang Duan (Intelligent Robotics Institute, Beijing Institute of Technology, China), Xing-tao Wang (Intelligent Robotics Institute, Beijing Institute of Technology, China) and Qiang Huang (Intelligent Robotics Institute, Beijing Institute of Technology, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2196-1.ch012
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Great advances have been made over the last decade with respect to medical manipulators for surgical robots. Although they cannot replace surgeons, they can increase surgeons’ abilities to perform surgeries with greater therapeutic effectiveness. These advanced surgical tools have been implemented in complex, precise, repetitive, and difficult surgeries. This chapter reviews medical manipulators used in surgical applications. At present, several kinds of medical manipulators have been developed to perform a variety of surgical procedures and can be classified into different categories. Here, the authors discuss general design principles and summarize and classify medical manipulators based on joint category and level of autonomy, with illustrations of applications. Finally, a brief synopsis is provided.
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2. General Design Principles

The first medical application using an industrial manipulator was implemented in the 1980s (Kwoh et al. 1988). However, applications in the medical environment are quite different from those in the industrial environment. It is important to consider design principles for medical manipulators in clinical applications (Taylor and Stoianovici 2003).

  • 1.

    Safety is the most challenging issue for medical manipulators, which are in close contact with surgeons, patients, and the environment (Duchemin et al. 2004).

  • 2.

    To date, medical manipulators have served as surgeon assistants; therefore, they should be accessible to clinical staff during operations. Medical manipulators should be lightweight and compact but have sufficient strength and dexterity, and high accuracy to be compatible with different operating theatres with respect to their intended use (Taylor and Stoianovici 2003).

  • 3.

    The degrees of freedom (DOF) configuration should be reasonable so that the inverse kinematics of medical manipulator is simple with analytical solutions rather than arithmetic solutions. Analytical solutions of inverse kinematics are convenient for robot control, especially master-slave control, by virtue of their short processing time.

  • 4.

    Medical manipulators must be easy to install and layout in clinical applications.


3. The Classification Of Medical Manipulators By Joint Category

According to the automatic degree of each joint, medical manipulators can be divided into three types: all-active joints articulated, all-passive joints articulated, and active-passive-combined joints articulated.

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