Israeli researchers triumphed over 11 other international teams the 2016 Surgical Robotic Challenge in London with their robot for minimally invasive neurosurgery.
The robot, intended for the removal of brain tumors of up to six centimeters (2.5 inches) in size, is operated through a small keyhole in the skull using laser irradiation and tumor extraction.
The device is composed of a needle assembly: a rigid outer needle and a self-reassembled inner needle. The outer needle is responsible for rotational movement and vertical movement into the tumor, while the inner needle is able to move laterally.
“This project involved many challenges,” says Technion doctoral student Hadas Ziso. “Besides the challenge of miniaturizing the detection and treatment tool, we had to allow the passage of a 90-degree curve in order to minimize the outer needle diameter. For this purpose we developed an inner needle that is flexible enough to pass through the curve, but also strong enough to lead the diagnostic and treatment tool to the tumor accurately, while bearing lateral loads resulted from heterogeneous environment.”
The robot was developed by Ziso, supervised by Prof. Moshe Shoham, head of the Technion Medical Robotics Laboratory, and Prof. Menashe Zaaroor, director of the department of neurosurgery at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.
The robotic treatment includes several preliminary stages. First, prior to surgery, MRI scans are performed, and the physician prepares the treatment plan on the MR images. Second, a few hours before surgery, the patient drinks a fluorescent medium (5-ALA) that accumulates in the tumor during surgery, so that the robot will rely on both the preliminary MR scans and the morphology of the tumor in real time.
During surgery, ultraviolet (UV) light is projected at the tumor via optical fibers, causing the emission of red light from the fluorescent medium, accumulated within the tumor. The red light allows accurate identification of the cancerous tissue in real time. Based on the information obtained from the detection tool, a high intensity laser is activated, projected from the tip of an optical fiber on the tumor in close range, and ablates the tissue.
During treatment, the real time detection is constantly activated to prevent damage to healthy tissue.
Two Israeli companies are involved in the development process of the robot: Prizmatix, which built the optical detection system, and Civan Advanced Technologies, which built the laser system.
[Photo: Israel21c ]