A Comparative Assessment of Novel Mini-Laparoscopic Tools

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Background: Mini-laparoscopy, or needlescopy, is an emerging minimally invasive technique that aims to improve on standard laparoscopy in the areas of tissue trauma, pain, and cosmesis. The objective of this study was to determine if there was a difference in functionality between 2 novel mini-laparoscopic instruments when compared to standard laparoscopic tools. Differences were assessed in a simulated surgical environment. Methods: Twenty participants (5 novices, 10 intermediate, 5 expert) were recruited for this institutional review board–approved study in a surgical simulation training center. Group A tools were assembled intracorporeally, and Group B tools were assembled extracorporeally. Using standard laparoscopic graspers, mini-laparoscopic graspers, or a combination of both, each participant performed 3 basic laparoscopic training tasks: a Peg Transfer, Rubber Band Stretch, and Tootsie Roll Unwrapping. Following each round of tasks, participants completed a survey evaluating the mini-laparoscopic graspers with respect to standard laparoscopic graspers. Data were analyzed using Kruskal-Wallis test with Dunn’s test for post hoc comparisons. Results: When comparing task times, both mini tools performed at the level of standard laparoscopic graspers in all participant groups. Group A tools were quicker to assemble and disassemble versus Group B tools. According to posttask surveys, all participant groups indicated that both sets of mini-laparoscopic graspers were comparable to the standard graspers. Conclusion: In a nonclinical setting, mini-laparoscopic instruments perform at the level of standard laparoscopic tools. Based on these results, clinical trials would be a reasonable next step in assessing feasibility and safety.

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