Addressing user challenges in laparoscopic surgery


Our client, an NHS consultant surgeon, challenged Team Consulting to find a low-cost method for improving visibility during laparoscopic surgery.


Our team of industrial design and surgical device engineers worked closely with the surgeon to develop a solution to the challenge of laparoscopic visibility. The team conducted contextual research to identify surgeons’ requirements and undertook competitor landscaping to find opportunities for product differentiation. Several concepts were then generated, which were iteratively evaluated with users to ensure clinical feasibility.


We created a low-cost, consumable device concept which enables simple and effective cleaning of the laparoscope, ready for patent file by the client.

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Laparoscopic device

Cleaning the laparoscope during surgery

Maintaining visibility during keyhole surgery is essential, yet laparoscopes often become obscured by fog, blood and tissue matter. Currently, the main way to clean laparoscopes is to remove them from the body, clean them and re-insert, which might need to occur every five minutes. Not only does this add time to the surgery – it also means a total lack of visibility of the surgical site.

Duncan Light, an upper GI consultant surgeon, asked Team to help solve this challenge in a cost-effective way that would be suitable for the NHS. Working closely with Mr Light, we combined real clinical insight with specialist technical knowledge to design a clinically feasible concept.

Laparoscopic device

Contextual research

To help identify challenges during laparoscopic surgery, the project team conducted user journey mapping and researched existing solutions. Using these insights, the team identified several key requirements, taking into account technical, user, commercial and safety needs.

Identifying cost effective solutions

Making the device suitable for NHS adoption was a key concern for the client. A solution which involved replacing existing laparoscopes was unlikely to be successful, given the capital investment required. The development team therefore focused on designing a concept that would be compatible with existing equipment.

Man on computer float

Concept generation

The aim was to make the solution as user-friendly and efficient as possible. A key focus during concept generation was finding a solution that would limit exposure of the scope to the operating room environment, to help prevent lens fog and condensation. The concepts therefore needed to reduce or prevent the need for the surgeon to remove the laparoscope from the pneumoperitoneum.

Man on computer float
Man leaning over 3D printer


The team scoped several embodiments that could achieve the required cleaning. In addition to mathematical modelling, a low fidelity prototype was produced using Team’s internal 3D printers to demonstrate the mechanism concept, before being modelled and refined into the final concept.

Man leaning over 3D printer

Product vision

The team produced a final concept for the client to begin the process of patenting, including a concept vision for a product family consisting of low and medium complexity versions of the device. The design language features crisp, modern forms, while still being recognizable within the product category.

I thoroughly enjoyed my participation with Team Consulting. It was a real privilege to work with an experienced team of engineers and designers to share ideas on solving a common problem in laparoscopic surgery. It was an inspiring opportunity to experience front end innovation and to interact with a highly motivated team. I am very satisfied with the result of our project and looking forward to progressing the device further. I am immensely grateful to Team for the experience.

Duncan Light, Consultant upper GI surgeon


We developed a low-cost, consumable device concept which enables simple and effective cleaning of the laparoscope, ready for patent file by the client.

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