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Smart Tissue Anastomosis Robot (STAR)

Image banner for STAR project

Key Personnel

  • Axel Krieger, PhD 
  • Azad Shademan, PhD 
  • Justin Opfermann, MS 
  • Ryan Decker, MS 
  • Simon Leonard, PhD 
  • Hanh Le, PhD Candidate, 
  • Jin Kang, PhD, 
  • Peter Kim, MD, PhD

Current soft tissue robot-assisted surgery (RAS) is limited to directly controlled master-slave use, which is highly dependent on the surgeon and does not take advantage of the precision, repeatability, and speed of robotic technology. The goal of STAR is to create smart surgical tools that have the best techniques of experienced surgeons programmed into tools so that optimal efficiency, effectiveness, and safety are delivered consistently.

Anastomosis is a critical task performed over a million times in the United States each year for visceral (gastrointestinal, urologic and gynecologic) indications alone. However, up to 30 percent of GI anastomoses are complicated by leakage, strictures, and stenosis.  Anastomosis remains one of the rate-limiting steps in broader adoption of minimally invasive surgery (MIS), particularly in children. We introduce three novel innovative technologies in STAR: (i) Novel end effector that incorporates and simplifies current surgical technique; (ii) New visual modality that allows tracking of mobile deformable soft tissue targets; and (iii) Collaborative decision support for surgical tasks between the surgeon and smart tools.

This research has the potential to significantly improve the function and outcome of anastomosis, not limited by surgeon’s technique, training, or experience.