"The future of surgery is not about blood and guts; the future of surgery is about bits and bytes.”
/Dr. Richard Satava/

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New development for the da Vinci

A February TED talk was released more recently, Catherine Mohr, director of Medical Research at Intuitive Surgical gave an excellent presentation titled "Surgery's past, present and robotic future"on the history of traditional surgery, major innovations and techniques leading to the da Vinci remote teleoperation. She showed some videos highlighting what Intuitive is thinkig about as future of surgery.
One important issue is in-vivo pathology. With certain indicator chemicals (fluorescents, bioluminescents especially) it is possible to mark and light up e.g. tumor cells, and then make them apparent to the surgeon. Use of special wavelength light can also help highlighting types of tissues. With this technique it is also possible to check the blood flow in vessels after a bypass right before the closure. A good article on the issue can be found here.
another promising area is the deployment of laparoscopic super-microscopes with felxible shafts that will allow to look into single cells during the operation. Robot would be able to give a lot more stable and controllable image.
Finally, Intuitive's prototype single inscision surgical (SILS) tool has been presented. It offers great manipulation in a limited space through the straucture similar to the snake-like robot developed at Johns Hopkins. Intuitive moves on the SILS and eventually to NOTES surgery. They also reported on this in April:
"In other developments, this quarter we acquired the assets of a Silicon Valley company, NeoGuide Systems that has been developing robotics for medical applications. Included in the purchase of patents and applications with early issue and filing dates covering basic concepts and the design and control of multi-link snake robotic systems for use in medicine. The addition of NeoGuide’s intellectual property to our organically developed technology and in-license technology from groups like Hansen Medical, Luna Innovations, SurgiQuest, and USGI Medical has established a strong IP base for Intuitive in single-incision and potentially NOTES robotics."
(Source: Seeking alpha)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

CyberKnife radiosurgery robot

One of the most successful robotic applications is the CyberKnife from Accuray Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA, USA). This stereotactic radiosurgery system integrates IGS with robotic positioning. The 6 MeV LINAC relatively light-weight photon device is mounted on a KUKA 6 DOF industrial manipulator. Its primary deployment is the irradiation of brain and spine tumors. X-ray cameras are used to track the spatial displacement of the patient and compensate for motion caused by e.g. breathing. The overall accuracy of the system is 0.42 ± 0.4 mm, while patient skin motions are detected with a 0.35 mm precision. The CyberKnife moves the radiation beam by physically repositioning the radiation source. It uses intra-corpuscular markers and Polaris (NDI Inc.) infrared cameras to track the patients’ moving body surface.
To improve accuracy, radioopaque fiducial markers are implanted in or near the tumor region several days before CT scanning for treatment planning. The fiducials, which are detectable in X-ray images, are used as reference markers to locate and track tumor location during patient alignment and treatment delivery. The Synchrony Respiratory Tracking System builds a correlation model between the positions of periodically detected fiducials and the real-time locations of optically tracked markers placed on the chest to track tumor location. It uses 4D CT (imaging through time) to measure respiratory tissue motion and deformation and to account for the effect of displacement and deformation through the irradiation.
Accuray has sold more than 150 units, 2/3 of them are installed in the US. The initial price of the robot is around 4 M USD. The closest system to Hungary is in Munich and Istanbul, where a treatment costs 12,000-17,000 USD.

Friday, June 12, 2009

MATE-BME Symposium on CIS

Some time ago in May, the 2nd MATE-BME Mini-symposium on Computer-Integrated Surgery was held at the Technical University of Budapest. On two long evenings, pair of graduate students presented ideas and materials related to CIS. All the abstracts and the presentations are available here in Hungarian. The topics included:
- X-ray-CT-MRI-PET imaging
- Magnetic needle guidance and surgical navigation
- haptic interfaces, mechatronics
- sterility technology and wifi in the OR
- ROBODOC and Cyberknife
- MR compatible robotics
- Micro and nano scale robots
- return rate and social acceptance of surgical robotics

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Here is bouquet of interesting and relevant conferences that can keep you busy:
Submit to:
- The next edition of Montpellier SEU summer schools is a must for young professionals in September (apply before 15 June)
- Deadline extended for SMIT in Sinaia, 7-9 October (deadline: 1 July)
- IEEE RoBIO going to be in picturesque Guilin in mid December (deadline: 15 July)
- MIRA 5th International Congress in San Diego, Januray 2010 (deadline: 15 August)
- You can already start to prepare something for ICRA2010 early May in Anchorage (deadline: mid September)

To enjoy:
- IFAC MCBMS in Denmark (12-14 August)
- IEEE's annual EMBC is fast approaching (2-6 September) in Minneapolis
- First International Conference on Recent Advances in Surgery 4-6 September (Kattayam, India)
- MICCAI will be accessible in London (20-24 September), still on time to apply for the workshops
- IEEE IROS in St. Luis (11-15 October)