The new technique is still in the developmental stage. The challenge remains, however, to design the new instruments and determine just how to move them once they’re inside the human body. “A fixed hole has a limited working envelope that is conical in shape,” said Dr. Jeffrey Cadeddu, associate professor of urology and radiology and director of the Clinical Center for Minimally Invasive Treatment of Urologic Cancer. The new surgical concept is called Magnetic Anchoring and Guidance System.

The system uses a stack of magnets outside the abdomen to attract other magnets attached to laparoscopic instruments inside the abdomen. Surgeons can then move the outside magnets to position an internal camera at the best spot for seeing or to move a retractor or other surgical instrument. Once optimally positioned, the instruments can be locked in place. That allows a much greater range of maneuverability and the surgical team can more easily reposition the camera or instrument, said Dr. Cadeddu.

In animal studies, surgeons have been able to successfully remove a kidney using the Magnetic Anchoring and Guidance System. “The current state of the art for laparoscopic surgery requires four or five holes. The question behind this is, can we do the surgery through only one hole and can we hide the hole in a cosmetically advantageous or less painful location,” Dr. Cadeddu said.

Study researchers concluded that “the ability to reduce the number of trocars necessary for laparoscopic surgery has the potential to revolutionize surgical practice,” but noted that there will be a learning curve for the new system and that because of the expanded maneuverability, surgeons will likely need to develop new techniques.

COMPAMED.de; Source: UT Southwestern Medical Center