Robot Brain Surgery Innovates Health Technology


robot-brain-surgery-deviceRobot Surgery is the topic for this week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast. Now before you start going down the path of thinking Terminator movie-style robots, I’m talking about robotics overseen and controlled by skilled surgeons.

The advantages of robots for surgery is that robot hands don’t tremble and are mechanically stabilized. This means that these robot surgeons can accomplish much more complex and minuscule surgical procedures than a human robot can manage alone.

One such robot is the one created by students at Vanderbilt University in their Laboratory for Design and Control of Energetic Systems. This robot is created to specifically treat epileptics whose brain surgeries typically require removal of a section of skull and digging through upper layers of the brain to reach the areas affected by epilepsy deep in the brain.

Using a robot, though, you could enter through a much smaller hole, drilled, say, through the cheek bone and only a half inch wide. By entering the brain from the bottom up, there is much less damage to upper, cognitive layers of the brain and the robot can reach the hippocampus part of the brain with relative ease.

The robot surgeon can twist and “snake” it’s way around other brain structures identified in 3-D MRI images and cause nearly flawless entry to reach just the target zone. The segments of the invasive robot probe advance a millimeter at a time and is steered in real time while watching the MRI screen. While it’s still a few years away from being used in live humans, it shows great promise and could also be adapted for previously inoperable tumors as well. Stay tuned here on the Health Tech Weekly show for more on this and other amazing health technologies that will change our lives!


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