This project is exploring a potential new approach in providing visual feedback during minimally invasive surgery (MIS) that involves integrating a CMOS camera imager and lens into a traditional cannula entry port. Initial research has focused on developing this device for abdominal surgery (laparoscopy). Such a device can provide vision assistance without positioning and orientation constraints associated with current laparoscopes. Patients who undergo laparoscopic surgery experience less pain, shorter hospital stays, and a more rapid return to normal activities compared to patients who undergo conventional surgery. The benefits of laparoscopic surgery, however, are generally restricted to patients undergoing less complex procedures. The primary reason for limited application of laparoscopy to more complex procedures is two-fold. The first drawback is the limitation of the laparoscope to view all aspects of the abdominal cavity including looking back towards the entry site. Secondly, to view the video image from the scope the surgeon must turn focus away from the patient and towards a recorded video image on a monitor placed away from the patient. These constraints impose severe perception and orientation limitations that degrade surgical task performance. The long-term goal of this project is to develop a camera and sensor module that can be placed within traditional trocar ports for insertion, and that deploy outward from the cannula port after insertion. This approach will allow these ports to still be utilized by all traditional laparoscopic surgical tools, while potentially removing the need for the laparoscope. In addition, a small LCD display is placed at the port’s proximal end restore natural perception and orientation for the surgical team.

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