Miniaturisation in robotic-assisted surgery

Authors: Rob Morgan, VP - Medical, Chas Kilby, Head of Mechanical Systems & Design, Alex Norman, Mechanical Systems & Design Senior Consultant, Wayne Brown, Mechanical Systems & Design Consultant

Robotic-Assisted Surgery (RAS) helps surgeons perform minimally invasive procedures, making specialist surgery more accessible and allowing patients to recover faster. Robotic tool miniaturisation further lessens invasiveness, so size reduction is a common innovation goal.

This whitepaper considers principles governing robotic tool miniaturisation and key challenges defined by surgical applications. We look at miniaturisation in terms of enabling technologies, existing approaches, and likely future developments, then drill down into the actuation and transmission needed to manipulate miniaturised instruments. We also provide an overview of the differing levels of miniaturisation offered by existing RAS products. This encompasses systems under development as well as those that are commercially available.

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