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Camera and instrument holders and their clinical value in minimally invasive surgery.

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Medical Technological Development Department, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


During minimally invasive procedures an assistant is controlling the laparoscope. Ideally, the surgeon should be able to manipulate all instruments including the camera him/herself, to avoid communication problems and disturbing camera movements. Camera holders return camera-control to the surgeon and stabilize the laparoscopic image. An additional holder can be used to stabilize an extra laparoscopic instrument for retracting. A literature survey has been carried out giving an overview of the existing "robotic" and passive camera and instrument holders and, if available, results of their clinical value. Benefits and limitations were identified. Most studies showed that camera holders, passive and active, provide the surgeon with a more stable image and enables them to control their own view direction. Only the passive holders were suitable for holding instruments. Comparisons between different systems are reviewed. Both active and passive camera and instrument holders are functional, and may be helpful to perform solo-surgery. The benefits of active holders are questionable in relation to the performance of the much simpler passive designs.

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