Now, robots that could help surgeons operate on hard to reach brain tumours

Washington, Sept. 9 (ANI): Scientists including are trying to develop technologies that will combine imaging techniques that allow surgeons to see deep within the brain during surgery with robotic systems that increase the precision of tissue removal.

J. Marc Simard, M.D., a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore (UMB), teamed up with Rao Gullapalli, Ph.D., professor of diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine also at UMB, as well as Jaydev Desai, Ph.D., professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park, to develop a small neurosurgical robot that could be used to remove deep-seated brain tumors.

Within four years, the team had designed, constructed, and tested their first prototype, a finger-like device with multiple joints, allowing it to move in many directions.

At the tip of the robot is an electrocautery tool, which uses electricity to heat and ultimately destroy tumors, as well as a suction tube for removing debris.

A key component of the team's device is its ability to be used while a patient is undergoing MRI. By replacing normal vision with continuously updated MRI, the surgeon is able to visualize deep-seated tumors and monitor the robot's movement without having to create a large incision in the brain.

In addition to reducing incision size, Simard says the ability to view the brain under continuous MRI also helps surgeons keep track of tumor boundaries throughout an operation. (ANI)


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