Robotic brain surgery through the cheek

Added by Shawon on 2015-04-22 

Victims to severe epilepsy, a central nervous disorder, will be lucky because of the engineers to find a new way of destroying it. Currently, those are sometimes treated by drilling into the skull, to reach the bottom of the brain and destroy the small area where the seizures originate. This is an invasive and dangerous way and needs long healing time.

Surgeons can take a shortcut to that area through the cheek to get the brain. It’s by using a robot which will be fitted with the MRI scanner. This robot will be guided manually.

To move through the obstacles, they need a needle made of 1.44 mm nickel titanium. The needle is pushed out pneumatically through the cheek. Some parts are curved, allowing the needle to steer and avoid damaging unaffected areas, a major advantage. After moving to each segment, it is scanned by the MRI scanner if its on the right path.

“I’ve done a lot of work in my career on the control of pneumatic systems,” Barth said.
“We knew we had this ability to have a robot in the MRI scanner doing something in a way that other robots could not. Then we thought, what can we do that would have the highest impact.”

Many neuroscientists use the through-the-cheek approach to implant electrode to track brain activity. But the needles can’t reach their desired position. So it is done by drilling skull.

Tests of the device were proved successful. However, it won’t be available for quite number of years, as there is much more testing to be done, according to them. After more successful testing, they will move on to try on human cadavers. It will be approved soon.

Category: Science

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