Minimally invasive surgery (e.g. laparoscopy) requires special surgical skills, which should be objectively assessed. Several studies have shown that motion analysis is a valuable assessment tool of basic surgical skills in laparoscopy. However, to use motion analysis as the assessment tool, it is necessary to track and record the motions of laparoscopic instruments. This article describes the state of the art in research on tracking systems for laparoscopy. It gives an overview on existing systems, on how these systems work, their advantages, and their shortcomings. Although various approaches have been used, none of the tracking systems to date comes out as clearly superior. A great number of systems can be used in training environment only, most systems do not allow the use of real laparoscopic instruments, and only a small number of systems provide force feedback.
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