Visually Autonomous Cauterization System (VACS) Conceptual Design – M.A.Sc Thesis

In the absence of any previously published surgical robotic literature in relation to machine vision and autonomous surgical activitiy, this thesis describes the develop- ment of an interdisciplinary, conceptual visually autonomous cauterization system (VACS). In general, the thesis identifies a surgical task and niche for which a de- vice may be visually servoed to act in the operating room as a surgical assistant. Specifically, the intent is to provide operating teams with control over hemostatic maintenance through electrocautery while simultaneously conducting other surgical procedures. Cauterization during minimally invasive hand-assisted laparoscopic liver resection (i.e., identified as the most likely procedure for proof-of-concept success) was selected. Design requirements for the system are established and details of the required hardware and software are discussed. The perioperative phases of the hand- assisted laparoscopic liver resection are outlined, then video frames from one such surgery are analyzed demonstrating the use of the image processing algorithm to identify cauterisable areas. Finally, a discussion on how the system’s benefits are realized and conclusions based on the objectives achieved and suggestions for future work (i.e., intended to establish a physical prototype and viable resource for the surgical community) are presented.

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