In recent years, robotics has become an essential part of surgical procedures, due to its exceptional level of precision. The first instance of robot technology being used in neurosurgery harkens back to 1985 when practitioners used an industrial robot to guide biopsy cannulas under computer tomography guidance. This approach was able to improve procedure accuracy while reducing procedure time in relation to traditional methods. While the use of this groundbreaking technology in neurosurgery is a relatively new phenomenon, its demonstrated results and potential for future applications cannot be ignored.
Since robotics first came out on the scene over 30 years ago, there have been various improvements in their mechanics, including in regard to electronics miniaturization, imaging, analysis protocols, control theory, artificial intelligence, and interactive interfaces. Features such as voice activation of robotic arms and physical feedback give surgeons the ability to have more control over the procedures they perform.
Robot-assisted neurosurgery involves advanced surgical tools that can carry out minimally invasive brain procedures. These robotic operating surgical assistants combine the power of robotic arms with detailed imaging capabilities. These systems enable neurosurgeons to treat children and adults who are struggling with epilepsy and other conditions in the brain in a faster, safer, and more effective manner.
One can think of these systems and their surgical navigation systems as a GPS for the patient’s brain. The tool is able to target specific areas of the brain with more precision, reducing the risk of errors or complications. The technology is also incredibly helpful when it comes to planning procedures ahead of time. Neurosurgeons are able to use both the image-guidance features and robotic arm to carry out precise procedures that achieve the changes that are needed for proper brain function. There is no better method for treating very small, hard-to-reach areas of the brain.
It’s no secret that brain and spine surgeries require an exceptional level of accuracy, and robotic systems play a vital role in achieving that. Several new robotic systems have come onto the market which are specifically designed for neurosurgery, enabling new possibilities for neurosurgeons.
Robotic systems can be of great help to surgeons not only in the preoperative stage but also during surgery (allowing for a high degree of dexterity). Various neurosurgical procedures can be improved with these systems, such as stereotactic biopsies, sEEG, spinal instrumentation, and neuroendovascular interventions.
Robots give practitioners the ability to perform technically difficult and repetitive tasks with an exceptional level of precision, making them ideal for various use in various procedures. In the field of functional neurosurgery, robotic systems have allowed for various improvements that reduce targeting errors, improving overall accuracy. In recent years, many spine and brain surgeries are even performed remotely, with the doctor and patient being on separate continents. These developments are all thanks to the incorporation of miraculous robotics technology.
The Benefits of Robotics
Some of the benefits of this technology include:
Avoids the need for a craniotomy (removing part of the skull) Allows for more precision Cuts down on surgery time Fewer stitches are required, which means a shorter recovery period and less downtime As incisions are very small, there is a lower risk of infection There is less pain and, thus, less need for painkillers following the procedure
What Is the Takeaway?
Today, technology plays a huge role in various industries. The field of neurosurgery is no different. Without the various achievements of robotics technology, neurosurgeons would not be able to perform life-saving surgeries with the precision that they do today. Imaging systems, haptic technology, and robotic arms now allow surgeons to perform incredibly complicated and delicate procedures with an unprecedented level of accuracy. As a result, patients can now live happy and healthy lives with a much lower risk of complications.