The value of force and torque measurements in transanal total mesorectal excision (TaTME)

S. F. Hardon, R. J. van Kasteren, J. Dankelman, H. J. Bonjer, J. B. Tuynman, T. Horeman

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Transanal total mesorectal excision (TaTME) is associated with a relatively long learning curve. Force, motion, and time parameters are increasingly used for objective assessment of skills to enhance laparoscopic training efficacy. The aim of this study was to identify relevant metrics for accurate skill assessment in more complex transanal purse-string suturing. Methods: A box trainer was designed for TaTME and equipped with two custom made multi-DOF force/torque sensors. These sensors measured the applied forces in the axial direction of the instruments (Fz), instrument load orientation expressed in torque (Mx and My) on the entrance port, and the full tissue interaction force (Fft) at the intestine fixation point. In a construct validity study, novices for TaTME performed a purse-string suture to investigate which parameters can be used best to identify meaningful events during tissue manipulation and instrument handling. Results: Significant differences exist between pre- and post-training assessment for the mean axial force at the entrance port Fz (p = 0.01), mean torque in the entrance port Mx (p = 0.03) and mean force on the intestine during suturing Fft (p = 0.05). Furthermore, force levels during suturing exceed safety threshold values, potentially leading to dangerous complications such as rupture of the rectum. Conclusions: Forces and torque measured at the entrance port, and the tissue interaction force signatures provide detailed insight into instrument handling, instrument loading, and tissue handling during purse-string suturing in a TaTME training setup. This newly developed training setup for single-port laparoscopy that enables objective feedback has the potential to enhance surgical training in TaTME.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)843-852
Number of pages10
JournalTechniques in coloproctology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


  • Force assessment
  • Laparoscopy
  • Patient safety
  • TaTME
  • Transanal surgery

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