Laparoscopic ultrasound manipulator with a spring-based elastic mechanism

Jumpei Arata, Kazunari Fukami, Susumu Oguri, Shinya Onogi, Tetsuo Ikeda, Ryu Nakadate, Masamichi Sakaguchi, Tomohiko Akahoshi, Kanako Harada, Mamoru Mitsuishi, Makoto Hashizume

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: Image guidance is a key technology that can improve the outcome of laparoscopic surgery. However, due to the large deformation caused by digestive organs, a computer-aided navigation system based on preoperative imaging data cannot indicate the correct target position of the lesion (e.g., liver tumors and vessels invisible from the organ surface). To overcome this issue, we developed a laparoscopic ultrasound manipulator with two motorized degrees of freedom at the tip, allowing for the performance of a dexterous ultrasound scan in a confined laparoscopic surgical area. Method: The developed manipulator consists of a compact and elastic structure using springs, enabling a safe ultrasound scan and avoiding excess force on the inspected organs. The manipulator is a handheld device equipped with four buttons at the handle, which the surgeon directly grasps to send a motion command to the tip structure. The developed prototype realizes two motorized degree-of-freedom motion at the tip. The size of prototype is 15.0 mm in diameter that is usable in conventional laparoscopy. The tip of the manipulator was carefully designed by considering the kinematic model and the results of the finite element analysis. Results: To assess the prototype, accuracy and rigidity were measured by using a motion processing microscope. The accuracy test showed that the proposed device has a fairly accurate characteristic as a handheld device. This was supposedly caused by the nature of compliant mechanism, which does not have mechanical play in motion. In addition, the intrinsic elastic structure (approximately 2.0 N/mm in most of the range of motion) allowed the ultrasound probe to adequately fit on the curved organ surface without extra effort of manipulation during the inspection. In the in vivo experiment, the yaw motion was found to be effective for investigating the vascular network because the manipulator allows the probe to be rotated while maintaining the same position. Conclusion: The mechanical evaluation and in vivo test results showed high feasibility of the prototype. We are currently working on further mechanical improvement for commercialization and development of a real-time navigation system that can perform three-dimensional reconstruction of ultrasonographic images by implementing a magnetic position sensor at the tip of the manipulator.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1063-1072
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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