A Clinical Study of the LiVac Laparoscopic Liver Retractor System
All retractors for laparoscopic operations on the gallbladder or stomach apply an upward force to the undersurface of the liver or gallbladder,most requiring an additional skin incision. The LiVac laparoscopic liver retractor system (LiVac retractor) comprises a soft silicone ring attached to suction tubing and connected to a regulated source of suction. The suction tubing extends alongside existing ports. When placed between the liver and diaphragm, and suction applied, a vacuum is created within the ring, keeping these in apposition. Following successful proof-of-concept animal testing, a clinical study was conducted to evaluate the performance and safety of the retractor in patients.
The study was a dual-centre, single-surgeon, open-label study and recruited ten patients scheduled to undergo routine upper abdominal laparoscopic surgery including cholecystectomy, primary gastric banding surgery or fundoplication. The study was conducted at two
sites and was approved by the institutions’ ethics committees. The primary objective of the study was to evaluate the performance of the LiVac retractor in patients undergoing upper abdominal single- or multi-port laparoscopic surgery. Performance was measured by the attainment of milestones for the retractor and accessory bevel, where used, and safety outcomes through the recording of adverse events, physical parameters, pain scales, blood tests and a post-operative liver ultrasound.
The LiVac retractor achieved both primary and secondary performance and safety objectives in all patients. No serious adverse events and no device-related adverse events or device deficiencies were reported.
The LiVac retractor achieved effective liver retraction without clinically significant trauma and has potential application in multi- or single-port laparoscopic upper abdominal surgery. As a separate incision is not required, the use of the LiVac retractor in multi-port surgery therefore reduces the number of incisions.