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Faculty of Engineering

Surgical technologies

Surgical Technologies

The need for surgical technologies

Our surgical technologies research theme is driven by a strong clinical need for new and improved technology to help the modern surgeon. Surgical techniques have evolved rapidly, for example the introduction of minimally invasive surgery (MIS) and robotically-assisted MIS which have improved outcomes for patients with faster recovery, reduced post-operative pain and fewer scars. This has created a need to develop innovative engineering solutions to some of the challenges being faced as surgery evolves to help surgeons achieve the best possible clinical outcome.

Who's involved?

Our work is highly multidisciplinary; the Surgical Technologies theme is the result of a well established link between the School of Mechanical Engineering and the Academic Unit of Surgery with its close ties to Leeds NHS Primary Care Trust.

We have a growing research team including PhD students with engineering and surgical backgrounds, Research Fellows and academic staff from across the School of Mechanical Engineering. We collaborate with the Institute of Psychological Sciences to objectively assess and improve surgical training methods. In addition to academic and clinical links we work actively with industry to optimise existing products and translate research into new commercial products.

What's involved?

The emphasis of our research is to translate technology from laboratory settings into systems for routine clinical use. To achieve this we integrate a broad range of engineering expertise in basic and applied areas of engineering:

• Bio-tribology (novel surfaces for tissue interaction)
• Mechatronics (mobile robotic devices for MIS)
• Control (human-robot interaction, haptics)
• Computational modelling (optimising surgical instruments)
• Biomimetics (bio-inspired materials and locomotion)
• Sensor systems (electronic, biosensors, micro/nano-scale)
• Materials (nanoparticles, biocompatible materials)


A range of engineering and clinical facilities are used by Surgical Technologies researchers. The School of Mechanical engineering has world-class laboratory facilities which support our work in tribology, surface and materials engineering and mechatronics. Clinical facilities available through the Academic Unit of Surgery include state-of-the-art tissue analysis and histology, laparoscopic training facilities and a robotic MIS system.

Key Contacts

Professor Anne Neville, School of Mechanical Engineering

Professor David Jayne, Academic Unit of Surgical Sciences

Dr Peter Culmer, School of Mechanical Engineering

Related institutes

- Institute of Design, Robotics and Optimisation
- Institute of Functional Surfaces
- Academic Unit of Surgical Sciences
- Biomedical Health Research Centre