New Balloon Retractor is Like Having Your Hand Inside the Abdomen During Laparoscopic Surgery

David Earle, MD. Baystate Medical Center

Objective: Solve the problem of maintaining good exposure of the operative field during laparoscopic surgery due to the inability to retract abdominal fat and intestines with instrumentation that fits through a small port.
Description: This laparoscopic retractor fits through a 10mm port, and has an inflatable balloon at the tip that resembles the shape of the human hand. Once inflated, the "hand" can be articulated to mimic the surgeons hand flexing at the MCP joints or wrist. The balloon is made from nylon fibers and thermoplastic polyurethane, and is atraumatic to tissue. It is approved by the FDA for use in humans.

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Preliminary Results: During initial clinical use, the retractor has been invaluable for improving operative within the pelvis during laparoscopic ventral hernia repair and gynecological procedures, along with retracting omentum and the liver during benign foregut operations.

Conclusions/future directions: This retractor will undoubtedly improve operative exposure for a variety of procedures, and has the ability to undergo future refinements in terms of variable sizes and shapes.

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