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Computational modelling of laparoscopic surgery

Project Description

Current laparoscopic surgery technology continues to present challenges that affect patient health and a surgeon’s ability to perform surgical procedures. Firstly, the CO2 used during laparoscopic surgery to inflate the abdomen is different to the conditions of the human body. The CO2 is dry and cold and draws heat and moisture from the already compromised patient. Desiccation and cooling of the internal tissues results in cellular damage and significant post-operative complications including surgical site infections, cancer metastases, and adhesions.
Secondly, the surgeon relies on a laparoscopic camera to view inside an inflated abdomen. Camera vision can be obscured by smoke produced by electrosurgical instruments. Obscured vision causes frustration for the surgeon and disrupts the surgery because clear vision must be restored before the procedure can continue. Both tissue desiccation and optical clarity are highly dependent on the gas flow patterns within the abdomen. Research and development into the mechanisms that lead to desiccation and obscured vision is important to develop products that address these issues.
The project will develop a computer based 3D model of an abdominal laparoscopic working space using CT scan data. Computational fluid mechanics (CFD) will be used to model, 1) the gas flow patterns within an insufflated laparoscopic pneumoperitoneum, 2) the production and behaviour of surgical smoke, and 3) the peritoneal surface heat and moisture loss. The project will deliver images and videos of the dynamics within the laparoscopic working space and their evolution over time.

Funding Notes

An application will be made for a Callaghan Innovation Research & Development Grant. Funding over a 36 month duration consists of a NZ$75,000 stipend, $2,666 travel allowance, and $13,333 towards university fees.


Binda, M. M. (2015). Humidification during laparoscopic surgery: overview of the clinical benefits of using humidified gas during laparoscopic surgery. Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 292(5), 955-971
Weld, K. J. et al. (2007). Analysis of surgical smoke produced by various energy-based instruments and effect on laparoscopic visibility. Journal of endourology, 21(3), 347-351.

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