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Title: Perception and orientation in minimally invasive surgery
Author: Sodergren, Mikael Hans
ISNI:       0000 0004 2705 0809
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2011
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During the last two decades, we have seen a revolution in the way that we perform abdominal surgery with increased reliance on minimally invasive techniques. This paradigm shift has come at a rapid pace, with laparoscopic surgery now representing the gold standard for many surgical procedures and further minimisation of invasiveness being seen with the recent clinical introduction of novel techniques such as single-incision laparoscopic surgery and natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery. Despite the obvious benefits conferred on the patient in terms of morbidity, length of hospital stay and post-operative pain, this paradigm shift comes at a significantly higher demand on the surgeon, in terms of both perception and manual dexterity. The issues involved include degradation of sensory input to the operator compared to conventional open surgery owing to a loss of three-dimensional vision through the use of the two-dimensional operative interface, and decreased haptic feedback from the instruments. These changes have led to a much higher cognitive load on the surgeon and a greater risk of operator disorientation leading to potential surgical errors. This thesis represents a detailed investigation of disorientation in minimally invasive surgery. In this thesis, eye tracking methodology is identified as the method of choice for evaluating behavioural patterns during orientation. An analysis framework is proposed to profile orientation behaviour using eye tracking data validated in a laboratory model. This framework is used to characterise and quantify successful orientation strategies at critical stages of laparoscopic cholecystectomy and furthermore use these strategies to prove that focused teaching of this behaviour in novices can significantly increase performance in this task. Orientation strategies are then characterised for common clinical scenarios in natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery and the concept of image saliency is introduced to further investigate the importance of specific visual cues associated with effective orientation. Profiling of behavioural patterns is related to performance in orientation and implications on education and construction of smart surgical robots are drawn. Finally, a method for potentially decreasing operator disorientation is investigated in the form of endoscopic horizon stabilization in a simulated operative model for transgastric surgery. The major original contributions of this thesis include:  Validation of a profiling methodology/framework to characterise orientation behaviour  Identification of high performance orientation strategies in specific clinical scenarios including laparoscopic cholecystectomy and natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery  Evaluation of the efficacy of teaching orientation strategies  Evaluation of automatic endoscopic horizon stabilization in natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery The impact of the results presented in this thesis, as well as the potential for further high impact research is discussed in the context of both eye tracking as an evaluation tool in minimally invasive surgery as well as implementation of means to combat operator disorientation in a surgical platform. The work also provides further insight into the practical implementation of computer-assistance and technological innovation in future flexible access surgical platforms.
Supervisor: Teare, Julian ; Yang, Guang-Zhong ; Darzi, Ara Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral