Robotically assisted eye surgery : a haptic master console

R. Hendrix

Research output: ThesisPhd Thesis 1 (Research TU/e / Graduation TU/e)

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Vitreo-retinal surgery encompasses the surgical procedures performed on the vitreous humor and the retina. A procedure typically consists of the removal of the vitreous humor, the peeling of a membrane and/or the repair of a retinal detachment. Operations are performed with needle shaped instruments which enter the eye through surgeon made scleral openings. An instrument is moved by hand in four degrees of freedom (three rotations and one translation) through this opening. Two rotations (? and ? ) are for a lateral instrument tip movement. The other two DoFs (z and ?) are the translation and rotation along the instrument axis. Actuation of for example a forceps can be considered as a fifth DoF. Characteristically, the manipulation of delicate, micrometer range thick intraocular tissue is required. Today, eye surgery is performed with a maximum of two instruments simultaneously. The surgeon relies on visual feedback only, since instrument forces are below the human detection limit. A microscope provides the visual feedback. It forces the surgeon to work in a static and non ergonomic body posture. Although the surgeon’s proficiency improves throughout his career, hand tremor may become a problem around his mid-fifties. Robotically assisted surgery with a master-slave system enhances dexterity. The slave with instrument manipulators is placed over the eye. The surgeon controls the instrument manipulators via haptic interfaces at the master. The master and slave are connected by electronic hardware and control software. Implementation of tremor filtering in the control software and downscaling of the hand motion allow prolongation of the surgeon’s career. Furthermore, it becomes possible to do tasks like intraocular cannulation which can not be done by manually performed surgery. This thesis focusses on the master console. Eye surgery procedures are observed in the operating room of different hospitals to gain insight in the requirements for the master. The master console as designed has an adjustable frame, a 3D display and two haptic interfaces with a coarse adjustment arm each. The console is mounted at the head of the operating table and is combined with the slave. It is compact, easy to place and allows the surgeon to have a direct view on and a physical contact with the patient. Furthermore, it fits in today’s manual surgery arrangement. Each haptic interface has the same five degrees of freedom as the instrument inside the eye. Through these interfaces, the surgeon can feel the augmented instrument forces. Downscaling of the hand motion results in a more accurate instrument movement compared to manually performed surgery. Together with the visual feedback, it is like the surgeon grasps the instrument near the tip inside the eye. The similarity between hand motion and motion of the instrument tip as seen on the display results in an intuitive manipulation. Pre-adjustment of the interface is done via the coarse adjustment arm. Mode switching enables to control three or more instruments manipulators with only two interfaces. Two one degree of freedom master-slave systems with force feedback are built to derive the requirements for the haptic interface. Hardware in the loop testing provides valuable insights and shows the possibility of force feedback without the use of force sensors. Two five DoF haptic interfaces are realized for bimanual operation. Each DoF has a position encoder and a force feedback motor. A correct representation of the upscaled instrument forces is only possible if the disturbance forces are low. Actuators are therefore mounted to the fixed world or in the neighborhood of the pivoting point for a low contribution to the inertia. The use of direct drive for ' and and low geared, backdriveable transmissions for the other three DoFs gives a minimum of friction. Disturbance forces are further minimized by a proper cable layout and actuator-amplifier combinations without torque ripple. The similarity in DoFs between vitreo-retinal eye surgery and minimally invasive surgery (MIS) enables the system to be used for MIS as well. Experiments in combination with a slave robot for laparoscopic and thoracoscopic surgery show that an instrument can be manipulated in a comfortable and intuitive way. User experience of surgeons and others is utilized to improve the haptic interface further. A parallel instead of a serial actuation concept for the ' and DoFs reduces the inertia, eliminates the flexible cable connection between frame and motor and allows that the heat of the motor is transferred directly to the frame. A newly designed z-?? module combines the actuation and suspension of the hand held part of the interface and has a three times larger z range than in the first design of the haptic interface.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Nijmeijer, Henk, Promotor
  • Steinbuch, Maarten, Promotor
  • Rosielle, Nick, Copromotor
Award date29 Mar 2011
Place of PublicationEindhoven
Print ISBNs978-90-386-2442-6
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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