In this paper, the design of the robotic cannula for minimally invasive robotic lumbar discectomy is presented. Lumbar discectomy is the surgery to remove the herniated disc material that is pressing on a nerve root or spinal cord. Recently, a robotic approach to performing this procedure has been proposed that utilizes multiple teleoperated articulated instruments inserted into the surgical workspace using a single cannula. In this paper, we propose a new robotic cannula system to work in conjunction with this new procedure. It allows for the independent teleoperated control of the axial position and rotation of up to three surgical instruments at the same time. The mechanical design, controller design, and prototype of new system are presented in this paper demonstrating a fully functioning device for this application. A novel worm gear and rack system allow for the instrument translation while and embedded gear trains produce the rotational movement. Steady-state errors of less than 50 μm for translation and less than 2° for rotational motion are obtained.

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