Vision-Based Surgical Suture Looping Through Trajectory Planning for Wound Suturing

Bo Lu, Kar Hang Chu, K. C. Huang, Li Cheng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Robot-assisted surgery has revolutionized the field of surgery over the past few decades. Despite many successes, achieving full automation in these surgeries remains a challenging task. In this paper, a dynamic approach is proposed to automate knot tying with an in-house robot vision system. Through efficient path planning and coordination between two grippers, the workspace required for constructing the suture loop can be reduced while issues such as suture slippage and collisions between instruments can be eliminated. Visual images were employed to monitor the two grippers in real time and their positions were evaluated using transformation matrices obtained experimentally. A linear quadratic control scheme was applied to optimize the tracking performance of the two grippers. From the experiments, this visual evaluation method can achieve a position accuracy of 1 mm in the workspace. The proposed algorithm was evaluated and automatic suture looping operation was successfully performed in all six trials. Different parameters in the control scheme were also examined by introducing external impulse disturbances during the knot-tying process. This proposed knot-tying approach demonstrates a simple and efficient way to construct a suture knot in a minimal workspace.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 Jun 2018


  • Automatic control
  • Cameras
  • collision avoidance
  • Grippers
  • path planning
  • Robot kinematics
  • robot vision systems
  • Surgery
  • suture looping.
  • Task analysis
  • Visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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