Robot guides brain surgery

A tiny robot developed at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem could help guide surgeons perform keyhole neurosurgery with greater accuracy


A tiny robot developed at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem can help guide surgeons perform keyhole neurosurgery with greater accuracy.



Although keyhole brain surgery, based on preoperative CT or MRI images, has obvious advantages for the patient, misplacement of the surgical instrument in these procedures may result in haemorrhage and severe neurological complications.



To overcome this problem, Prof. Leo Joskowicz of the School of Engineering and Computer Science and his associates have developed a novel, image-guided system for precise, automatic targeting of structures inside the brain. The system is based on a miniature robot that can be programmed with detailed information obtained from preoperative electronic scans of the patient.



During surgery, the robot is directly affixed to a head clamp or to the patient’s skull. It automatically positions itself with great accuracy in respect to the surgical targets. Once positioned, the robot locks itself in place and serves as a guide for insertion by the surgeon of a needle, probe, or catheter to carry out the procedure.



The main advantages of the system are the reduced pain for the patient, its compactness and ease of use, and its applicability to a wide variety of neurosurgical procedures.