In a first, doctors have used a robot to perform a surgery to treat brain aneurysm in a 64-year-old female patient.
It may lead to improved use of robotic technology in cardiology and neurology.
In the first-of-its-kind experimental procedure, described at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2020, held in the US, the researchers used a robotic system specifically adapted for neurovascular procedures.
The surgeons, including those from the Toronto Western Hospital in Canada, used software and hardware adaptations which enabled them to accommodate guidewires and other devices used for procedures involving blood vessels in the brain.
They said the modifications also provided the operator additional precise control of the robotic parts compared to previous system models.
“This experience is the first step towards achieving our vision of remote neurovascular procedures,” said lead researcher Vitor Mendes Pereira, a neurosurgeon from the Toronto Western Hospital.
“The ability to robotically perform intracranial aneurysm treatment is a major step forward in neuro-endovascular intervention,” Mendes Pereira said.
In the first case, a 64-year-old female patient presented with an unruptured, bulging, weakened area in the wall of an artery, or an aneurysm, at the base of her skull, the researchers said in a statement.
They said all steps of the surgery were performed with the robotic arm.
The study noted that the scientists have also successfully performed five additional aneurysm treatments using the robot.
“The expectation is that future robotic systems will be able to be controlled remotely. For example, I could be at my hospital and deliver therapy to a patient, hundreds or even thousands of kilometres away,” Mendes Pereira said.
“The ability to deliver rapid care through remote robotics for time-critical procedures such as stroke could have a huge impact on improving patient outcomes and allow us to deliver cutting-edge care to patients everywhere, regardless of geography,” Mendes Pereira added.