Tiny Robotic Wrist Gives New Dexterity to Needlescopic Surgery

With the flick of a tiny mechanical wrist, engineers and doctors at Vanderbilt University hope to give needlescopic surgery a whole new degree of dexterity. The tiny incisions needlescopic surgery requires are so small that they can be sealed with surgical tape and usually heal without leaving a scar. The researchers developed a surgical robot with steerable needles equipped with wrists that are less than 2 mm thick. The new device is designed to provide needlescopic tools with a degree of dexterity that they have previously lacked. Not only will this allow surgeon-operators to perform a number of procedures such as precise resections and suturing that haven't been possible before, but it will also allow the use of needles in places that have been beyond its reach, such as the nose, throat, ears, and brain.