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admin 12.07.2015

Prof Yeung Chung-kwong (left), Prof Yung Kai-leung (middle) and Prof Law Wai-lun (right) successfully developed novel surgical robotic system (NSRS).
To minimize surgical trauma and improve the safety of current robotic surgery, an innovative project to develop a novel surgical robotic system (NSRS) with haptic (tactile) feedback and capable of single incision or natural orifice (incision-less) robotic surgery has been initiated by Professor Yeung Chung-Kwong (Prof Yeung), Honorary Clinical Professor, Department of Surgery, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong (HKU).
Compared with currently available surgical robots, which require multiple (3-6) abdominal incisions, NSRS has fully internally motorized surgical arms which can enter the human body through one tiny incision, or even a natural orifice, for various abdominal or pelvic surgical operations.
Three consecutive successful animal surgical experiments using the NSRS prototype were carried out at the Surgical Skills Centre, Department of Surgery, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU since December 2015. Prof Yeung (left), Prof Yung (middle) and Prof Law (right) explained the details about the novel surgical robotic system (NSRS).
A novel surgical robotic system (NSRS) developed by Prof Law (left), Prof Yeung (middle) and Prof Yung (right) is capable for single incision or natural orifice (incision-less) robotic surgery.

A team of experienced engineers led by Professor Yung Kai-Leung (Prof Yung), Professor and Associate Head of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) was invited to  develop the system as an engineering partner since 2012. The system is expensive and has many limitations, including the need for multiple incisions, lack of haptic (force or tactile sensation) feedback, and bulkiness. Since the robotic arms are driven by custom-made micro-motors adjacent to the end-effectors, they can operate with high precision and provide a good sensation of the force applied (haptic feedback). In the most recent successful experiment conducted on 3 February, 2016, robotic cholecystectomy was successfully completed within one hour in a live pig with NSRS. Furthermore, it is not designed for natural orifice (NOTES, or incision-less) robotic surgery. NSRS is the first robotic system in the world with arms having in-vivo motors that are both small enough and able to generate sufficient force to perform various surgical operations inside the human body, paving the way for future non-invasive surgery.

Our multi-disciplinary approach of innovatively combining materials’ properties, design and mechatronics has led to the production of reduced size, light-weight and high precision instruments.
This innovative project is funded by NISI (HK) Limited (NISI), a company specializing in non-invasive surgical innovations, and supported by the Innovation and Technology Commission of the Hong Kong SAR Government.
By contrast NSRS, the new robotic system, can be inserted through a single, small incision or even a natural orifice and expanded inside the human body to perform various surgical operations. Prof Law added, “We will continue to test the new robotic system in animal and cadaver models for more complicated procedures, using a single-incision and natural orifice approach.

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