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Minimally invasive surgery (MIS), while beneficial to patients, leads to new challenges for surgeons and prevents tumors from being localized using finger palpation. A tactile-sensing system (TSS), consisting of a hand-held tactile-sensing instrument (TSI) with a visualization interface, was developed to assist in intraoperative tumor localization. This paper presents the calibration of the TSI and its integration with a visualization interface that allows palpation forces to be displayed. Experiments were conducted to determine whether providing visual force feedback (VFF) to the user would significantly benefit TSS performance when attempting to locate 10 mm hemispherical tumors in ex vivo bovine liver. The TSS with VFF realized a 33% and 21% relative reduction in average and maximum applied forces, respectively, and a 53% relative increase in detection accuracy when compared to the use of the TSS without VFF. Thus, VFF improves the performance of the TSS and has the potential to help surgeons identify tumors intraoperatively during MIS.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2010