The Ballpoint Laparoscope
WINNER: 1st Honorable Mention- Diagnostic Devices Category
Laparoscopic surgery is a form of minimally invasive surgery, in which procedures are performed via multiple small incisions. The advantages of laparoscopic surgery are that the smaller incisions result in reduced hemorrhaging, minimal scaring, reduced pain, shorter recovery times, and reduced infection and contamination risks. However, surgeons often face visibility loss during the procedure as a result of fogging, bleeding or tissue smearing, and therefore laparoscopic cameras must be removed and cleaned several times over the course of a procedure. This is particularly dangerous because cleaning can take upwards of five minutes, in which surgery is being conducted without any visual of the operating area.
To address these challenges, we have developed a self-cleaning laparoscope, which will circumvent to need to remove the instrument from the patient mid-surgery. In vivo cleaning will not only reduce surgery times but also reduce risk of complications and interruptions from removing and reinserting the instrument. In addition, visibility will remain high throughout the procedure because this self-cleaning laparoscope will maintain a clear optical pathway. By encasing the imaging lens in a rotating sphere, no waste is introduced to the patient’s body and large debris is prevented from entering the instrument. Small debris will be removed using the integrated saline and vacuum channels. The self-cleaning laparoscope has a simple mode of operation, where it is controlled by an external switch on the handle area, and has the potential to eventually replace conventional laparoscopes.