Laparoscopic Grasper

PI’s: Leanne West, George Raschbaum, & Mark McJunkin

Funded by: Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

The hypertrophy of the pylorus, the valve between the stomach and the duodenum, which manifests as projectile vomiting in the infant. A pyloromyotomy is the corrective surgery which is now done laparoscopically. During the procedure a grasping device is used to stabilize the pylorus by pinching the duodenum. Other tools are used to cut and spread the muscles in the pylorus, thereby allowing food to pass into the small intestine. Using the current grasping device can cause damage to the delicate, pediatric small intestine through crushing forces. Additionally, nearly two thirds of the time spent in the operating room for this procedure is spent trying to secure and stabilize the duodenum before even opening the pylorus. We are developing a new device that will decrease the crushing forces as well as provide a more reliable grip on the organ hereby decreasing the time in the O.R.  This device is being designed with bio-inspired adhesion in mind: the device will ultimately employ adhesive pads modeled after the structure of the Remora Fish’s modified dorsal fin. The Remora is a fish that can attach and detach to a variety of surfaces in a flooded environment with nearly no damage to the substrate.

A laparoscopic device that could grasp and stabilize a variety of tissues would appeal to a much larger pediatric market than just the pyloric stenosis patients.