During lengthy laparoscopic surgeries, operating room (OR) assistants are often required to manually hold organ stabilizing tools in place while surgeons perform challenging procedures such as hysterectomies and sacral colpopexies. This increases the number of staff in the OR, sometimes with personnel that have minimal training on positioning techniques. In addition, using staff to manually hold the stabilizing tools results in fatigue over time, allowing the tools to drift and sway during difficult surgical steps. These conditions highlight a recognized unmet need for a surgical positioning system that could be used in place of OR personnel, allowing stabilizing probes and uterine manipulators to be easily positioned and locked, freeing up surgical assistants to perform other more critical activities.
In response to this unmet need, Key Tech and Dr. Walter von Pechmann developed a uterine positioning system called the ALLY, a table-mounted electromechanical system to position and hold surgical tools. The product began with identifying and assessing user preferences on range of motion, locking methods and structural parameters, which led to multiple iterations of different design concepts. Multiple prototypes were created and tested in mock surgeries and cadaver studies to refine the design. Ultimately, the key feature of the ALLY was the use of nested links or “vertebrae” that are tensioned to allow for easy manipulation and locking for stabilization. The product was acquired in a pre-production design phase by CooperSurgical in 2013. CooperSurgical incorporated additional design features in the product and recently launched the ‘ALLY Uterine Positioning System’ in the spring of 2015.
ALLY Uterine Positioning System is a trademark of CooperSurgical, Inc.