Background. With increasing experience and technological advancement in surgical instruments, surgeons have explored the feasibility of single-incision laparoscopic surgery and natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES). These techniques aim to further reduce surgical trauma, but are not popular due to their inherent pitfalls including clashing of instruments, lack of counter traction, lengthy operating time, and so on. A novel surgical robotic system was designed to overcome the limitations of the existing technologies. Animal trials were conducted to demonstrate its feasibility in performing robotic-assisted transrectal cholecystectomy in a porcine model. Method. The Novel surgical robotic system is a high dexterity, single access port surgical robotic system that enables surgeons to carry out single-port surgical procedure or NOTES. The proposed system's main features include the ability to perform intraabdominal and pelvic surgeries via natural orifices like the vagina or rectum. The system is equipped with multiple miniaturized (16 mm diameter) internally motorized robotic arms, each with a minimum of 7 degrees of freedom, a dual in vivo camera system, a cannula, and an external swivel system. Results. Robotic-assisted transrectal cholecystectomy was successfully performed in 3 adult male pigs. The estimated blood loss was <10 mL in all 3 cases. There were no intraoperative complications. The system provided good dexterity and clear vision. Conclusions. The trial demonstrated that the system can provide the surgeon a stable platform with adequate spacing for the transrectal insertion of robotic arms, 3-dimensional vision, and enhanced dexterity in performing NOTES cholecystectomy.
Keywords: NOTES; surgical robot; transrectal cholecystectomy.