Medical Devices
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Weng Wong
UCL Business PLC

Pneumatically Attachable Flexible (PAF) Rails for Laparoscopic Surgery

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Available For: Licensing


{{start}} A novel multi-purpose surgical technology for intra-operative organ imaging and safe organ manipulation. {{end}}

<h2>The Technology and its Advantages</h2>

Robotic-assisted partial nephrectomy (RAPN) is the second most common robotic-assisted surgical procedure. Performed laparoscopically, ie. via keyhole surgery, a portion of a kidney is removed to prevent the spreading of the tumour to healthy tissue. To define the margins for resection intra-operative ultrasound (US) scanning is performed using small probes passed through standard trocar ports. After insertion, the probe is the grasped with a robotic tool and swiped on the surface of the kidney to identify the margins for resection and these are marked with an electro-cautery tool. Because of the morphology of the kidney there are two main challenges faced by clinicians:

•       ensuring constant contact between the probe and the surface of the organ while swiping to obtain good quality US images to correctly identify the resection margins;

•       moving the organ without damaging it while performing imaging and resection.

The PAF rails, are disposable mechanical interfaces made of medical-grade silicone developed to tackle both these challenges in RAPN as in other similar laparoscopic procedures. This is possible thanks to three main design features (illustrated in Figure 1):

1.       a line of vacuum actuated suckers to attach the system on the surface of the targeted organ;

2.       a rail-like structure running along the whole length of the system to allow to mechanically pair the US probe with the targeted surface to scan;

3.       a fin-like structure on the side opposite to the suction line to enable organ manipulation


The system also includes a custom connector to retrofit to commercially available drop-in US probes eg. BK X12C4.

<h2>Market Opportunity</h2>

The PAF rails have been initially developed for RAPN. However, thanks to their versatile design, they can be employed for organ manipulation in general laparoscopic surgery because of their fin-like interface. Their rail-like profile has been designed to pair with standard drop-in US probes retrofitted with custom connectors. The design can be easily tailored to other sensing modalities requiring close and constant proximity to the targeted organ/tissue surface, such as optical endomicroscopy, or even to guide active surgical tools.

<h2>Intellectual Property Status</h2>

A PCT patent application number PCT/GB2019/051463 has been filed.

<h2>Further Information</h2>

Please contact Dr Weng Sie Wong, Senior Business Manager |T: +44 (0)20 7679 9000 | E:

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