Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Brain Surgery Robot - neuroArm

The Calgary Health Region and the University of Calgary are developing the world's first image-guided surgical robot in collaboration with MD Robotics, the creators of Canadarm. As a world leader in space robotics, MD Robotics is now looking towards inner space - to the microscopic reaches of the human brain. The goal is to reduce the invasiveness of brain surgery by the use of precise tool manipulation under visual and MRI guidance and ultimately, improved patient recovery rates for neurosurgery.

Inside neuroArm

neuroArm is an MRI-compatible, ambidextrous robot capable of performing the most technically challenging surgical procedures. Its dextrous components are two image-guided manipulators with end-effectors that mimic human hands and are capable of interfacing with new microsurgical tools. It has tremor filters that eliminate unwanted hand tremors seen under the microscope.

Each end-effector is equipped with a three-dimensional (3D) force-sensor providing the robot with its sense of touch. A surgeon, seated at a surgical workstation, controls the robot using force feedback hand-controllers. Combined with a 3D visual display of the surgical site and 3D MRI displays with superimposed 'virtual' tools, the workstation recreates the sight and sensation of microsurgery. Surgical simulation software on the workstation allows the surgeon to calculate the optimal incision site, plan a path that avoids critical structures and permits risk-free rehearsal of rare or complex procedures. To ensure safety, redundant computer systems continuously monitor and control neuroArm's movements.

Benefits to Patient Care


  • Optimize lesion resection
  • Less tissue manipulation
  • Major educational tool, creating a surgical centre of excellence
  • Optimization of surgical decision-making


  • Greatly improve precision and spatial resolution
  • Provide robotic accuracy and repeatability
  • Greatly reduce surgeon fatigue
  • Smaller craniotomies
  • Decreased surgical complications
  • Decreased surgical morbidity


  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Increased levels of cell removal, thereby decreased reoccurrence rates and increased survival times
  • Reduced operating times
  • Less patient trauma
  • Less lost waiting time

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