Brain surgery - the Vanderbilt access

We can't praise enough the Vanderbilt guys for coming up newer and newer surgical robot concepts. This time, it's about brain surgery, with access through the cheek:
"The engineers have developed a working prototype, which was unveiled in a live demonstration this week at the Fluid Power Innovation and Research Conference in Nashville by David Comber, the graduate student in mechanical engineering who did much of the design work.
The business end of the device is a 1.14 mm nickel-titanium needle that operates like a mechanical pencil, with concentric tubes, some of which are curved, that allow the tip to follow a curved path into the brain. (Unlike many common metals, nickel-titanium is compatible with MRIs). Using compressed air, a robotic platform controllably steers and advances the needle segments a millimeter at a time.
According to Comber, they have measured the accuracy of the system in the lab and found that it is better than 1.18 mm, which is considered sufficient for such an operation. In addition, the needle is inserted in tiny, millimeter steps so the surgeon can track its position by taking successive MRI scans.
According to Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Eric Barth, who headed the project, the next stage in the surgical robot’s development is testing it with cadavers. He estimates it could be in operating rooms within the next decade."
Read more here, and via Science et Avenir and the Medgadget article.
Watch a lecture from Bob Webster:

Image credit: Vanderbilt Univeristy


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