Locator: surgical solution for large kidney stone removal
17 July 2013
UCT inventor and surgeon, Dr John Lazarus (Division of Urology) and co-inventor John Williams (an independent engineer) invented a novel surgical tool, the Locator, for use in large kidney stone surgery, where it improves the efficiency of the minimally invasive procedure. The Locator assists a surgeon in achieving a precise percutaneous needle puncture by stabilising the needle, making it easier and quicker. The reduction in procedure time has the additional benefit that less X-ray radiation exposure is required, which is safer for the patient. The long radiolucent arm also reduces X-ray exposure to the surgeon’s hands.
The device uses C-arm fluoroscopy and two articulated arms with spherical joints to obtain an accurate puncture. The working head consists of a radiolucent extension arm, hand controlled outside the fluoroscopy beam and it can be fixed to operating tables via a standard anesthetic screen. The direction for needle advancement into the stone is determined by obtaining a needle superimposition or "bull's-eye target" on the fluoroscopic screen. The C-arm can be rotated to enable the puncture depth to be estimated. Watch the video here.
With the support of the South African Urological Association (SAUA) funding, several units have already been successfully manufactured and distributed to surgeons in university hospitals at cost, for evaluation and useful feedback. In addition, the first commercial order has been received and this too will provide important external validation of the device.
Read the paper: Lazarus, J. and Williams, J. (2011). The Locator: novel percutaneous nephrolithotomy apparatus to aid collecting system puncture--a preliminary report. J Endourol. May 25(5), pp 747-50