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Date of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Applied Science (MASc)

Department

Biomedical Engineering

Supervisor

Alexandru Patriciu

Language

English

Abstract

This thesis presents a computational model of the surgical stitching tasks and a path planning algorithm for robotic assisted stitching. The overall goal of the research is to enable surgical robots to perform automatic suturing. Suturing comprises several distinct steps, one of them is the stitching. During stitching, reaching the desired exit point is difficult because it must be accomplished without direct visual feedback. Moreover, the stitching is a time consuming procedure repeated multiple times during suturing. Therefore, it would be desirable to enhance the surgical robots with the ability of performing automatic suturing. The focus of this work is on the automation of the stitching task. The thesis presents a model based path planning algorithm for the autonomous stitching. The method uses a nonlinear model for the curved needle - soft tissue interaction. The tissue is modeled as a deformable object using continuum mechanics tools. This thesis uses a mesh free deformable tissue model namely, Reproducing Kernel Particle Method (RKPM). RKPM was chosen as it has been proven to accurately handle large deformation and requires no re-meshing algorithms. This method has the potential to be more realistic in modeling various material characteristics by using appropriate strain energy functions. The stitching task is simulated using a constrained deformable model; the deformable tissue is constrained by the interaction with the curved needle. The stitching model was used for needle trajectory path planning during stitching. This new path planning algorithm for the robotic stitching was developed, implemented, and evaluated. Several simulations and experiments were conducted. The first group of simulations comprised random insertions from different insertion points without planning to assess the modeling method and the trajectory of the needle inside the tissue. Then the parameters of the simulations were set according to the measured experimental parameters. The proposed path planning method was tested using a surgical ETHICON needle of type SH 1=2 Circle with the radius of 8:88mm attached to a robotic manipulator. The needle was held by a grasper which is attached to the robotic arm. The experimental results illustrate that the path planned curved needle insertions are fifty percent more accurate than the unplanned ones. The results also show that this open loop approach is sensitive to model parameters.

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