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Surg Endosc. 2010 Jan;24(1):9-15. doi: 10.1007/s00464-009-0541-0. Epub 2009 Jun 11.

Initial trial of a stereoscopic, insertable, remotely controlled camera for minimal access surgery.

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College of Physicians and Surgeons, Department of Surgery, Columbia University, New York, NY 10023, USA.



Although video-laparoscopy has enabled successful minimal access surgery, the nature of the technology causes many troublesome limitations: (1) the fulcrum effect of the insertion site through the abdominal wall limits the angle of view, (2) the camera operator must use counterintuitive movements, (3) the laparoscope occupies an incision which otherwise could be used for an instrument, and (4) the laparoscope provides a two-dimensional image.


A stereoscopic, insertable, remotely controlled camera was developed to overcome the limitations imposed by traditional video-laparoscopy. Additional functionality included digital zoom, picture-in-picture (PIP), and tracking capability for autonomous function of the camera. Four surgical tasks were performed twice in a porcine model, once using the insertable camera and once using a standard video-laparoscope setup for visualization. Running the bowel, simulated laparoscopic appendectomy, laparoscopic nephrectomy, and laparoscopic suturing and tying were measured for time, blood loss, and complications. Digital zoom, PIP, and the ability of the computer to move the camera to track a marked instrument were subjectively evaluated.


The tasks were aborted in one animal because a new three-dimensional (3D) display could not be synchronized with the camera and in another animal because a motor in the camera failed. The tasks were all completed twice in two animals. The mean time was less for all procedures using the insertable camera. There was no significant blood loss and there were no complications. Digital zoom and PIP displaying both a close-up and a panoramic view were subjectively felt to improve visualization by all observers. The computer could reliably move the camera to track a marked instrument to keep it in the center of the field of view.


This preliminary proof-of-concept study suggests that a stereoscopic, insertable, remotely controlled camera may provide better visualization during minimal access surgery by overcoming many of the limitations of video-laparoscopy.

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