Revolutionary surgical breakthrough: Minimally-invasive tools assemble inside the body

Tools allow for the introduction of huge things into the body through a little catheter.
Nergis Firtina
MaSoChain instruments.
MaSoChain instruments.

ETH Zürich 

The tools used in minimally invasive surgery must be tiny. Researchers from ETH Zurich have now created a technique to move big gadgets through a tiny catheter. The options for creating minimally invasive surgical equipment are increased as a result.

The researchers have created new minimally invasive surgical tools that allow for the introduction of huge things into the body through a little catheter, as per the statement.

Hongri Gu, a former doctoral student at ETH who is currently a postdoc at the University of Konstanz, led the team in their research, which was primarily focused on showcasing the numerous applications of this novel strategy.

The researchers also created an endoscopic grasper in an essentially straightforward manner utilizing 3D printing. They also demonstrated how a three-part endoscope head may be assembled using the new methodology.

The researchers joined rigid segments with the tiny magnets-incorporated rigid segments to create their prototypes. The endoscope head may now conduct motions with radii and angles that are too small for current endoscopes to handle, thanks to this design method. Designing tools for minimally invasive surgery on organs like the intestine or the stomach is made possible by enhanced mobility

The study was published in Nature Communications on March 2023.

Revolutionizing Health Care with 3D printing

Through the creation of organ models, bone and joint implants, and precise equipment, technology has successfully improved surgical techniques. The use of the technique to produce drugs, skin tissue, and organs is also being researched, according to the American Hospital Association.

A three-dimensional solid object is produced via 3D printing from a digital model. By reading a digital plan and replicating it layer by layer using filament and ultraviolet light, the 3D printer builds the thing.

One of the main advantages of 3D printing is that it produces goods much more quickly because it doesn't need the large, expensive machinery used in traditional production. For instance, the fabrication of hearing aids has been slashed from more than a week to only one day thanks to 3D technology.

Study abstract:

Magnetic continuum soft robots can actively steer their tip under an external magnetic field, enabling them to effectively navigate in complex in vivo environments and perform minimally invasive interventions. However, the geometries and functionalities of these robotic tools are limited by the inner diameter of the supporting catheter as well as the natural orifices and access ports of the human body. Here, we present a class of magnetic soft-robotic chains (MaSoChains) that can self-fold into large assemblies with stable configurations using a combination of elastic and magnetic energies. By pushing and pulling the MaSoChain relative to its catheter sheath, repeated assembly and disassembly with programmable shapes and functions are achieved. MaSoChains are compatible with state-of-the-art magnetic navigation technologies and provide many desirable features and functions that are difficult to realize through existing surgical tools. This strategy can be further customized and implemented for a wide spectrum of tools for minimally invasive interventions.

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