Macquarie University Hospital colorectal surgeons have collaborated to develop an enhanced laparoscopic guide to facilitate the rapid exchange of instruments during complex surgery.

Professors John Cartmill and Dr Andrew Gilmore have been close colleagues for years, often operating in pairs for more challenging cases.

Last year, the two colorectal surgeons collaborated to develop a new surgical device: an enhanced guide that facilitates a more efficient exchange of instruments during colorectal surgery.

“During laparoscopic surgery, there are numerous tools and lines being exchanged, sometimes very rapidly to make the best use of a single port,” explained Professor Cartmill.

“The aperture for this activity is relatively small, low in profile and in the dark. That all hampers instrument exchange and takes attention away from the task. This is particularly true for the dominant or active hand.”

Professors Cartmill and Gilmore’s new design is a significantly wider offset funnel-shaped device that connects to an existing abdominal port. The device is fully compatible with ports from various manufacturers.

“The primary benefit here is in shortening the exchange time of instruments and particularly their accuracy of placement,” said Professor Cartmill. “A surgical sequence or ‘phrase’ can be completed more efficiently and accurately because the instrument ‘appears’ exactly where it is expected. There is no hunting.”

With faster, and particularly more accurate, instrument exchange, fatigue is reduced and in some cases the number of ports or small incisions can be reduced.

Macquarie University’s Office of Commercialisation and Innovation has filed a patent application for the ‘new surgical tool’.

“Our office was able to help develop a 3-D printed prototype of the device, which we then put out for commercial interest,” said Anna Grocholsky, Director of Commercialisation and Innovation at Macquarie University.

“A licence has been secured with Multigate Medical Products to fully develop the product, complete the regulatory work and take it to market.

“This is one of several innovations coming out of Macquarie University Hospital that we are helping take to market. It’s great to see the Hospital contributing to Macquarie University’s long history of innovation and commercialisation.”

The product will be developed in Australia and ready for clinical use in 2019.

“Andrew and I are really looking forward to using it,” said Professor Cartmill. “Without the University’s Office of Commercialisation and Innovation, this would never have been possible.”