A rift is opening between a surgeon’s improving ability to perceive minute details through increasingly-higher-resolution imaging modalities and the relatively-unchanging accuracy of delivering surgical action. In order to take advantage of small-scale perception, advances in instrumentation must allow for tissue removal at similar levels of precision. Consequently, laser technology has begun to make inroads into the neurosurgical operating room. Lasers can replicate the individual functions of many micro-instruments including coagulation, cutting, and in some cases, an elimination of the need for tissue aspiration. Combined with robotic platforms that allow for precision control, the next generation of precise, safe, rapid surgical action stands ready to be created.
This program focuses on developing a prototype of an automated brain tumor resection device that uses laser ablation and intraoperative feedback to precisely resect a tumor under robotic control. In contrast to the risks posed by contemporary approaches to brain tumor microsurgery, the proposed technique will allow a surgeon to more precisely remove harmful cells without damaging critical brain and vascular structures. Cost savings as a result of less time spent in the operating room will provide direct benefit to the hospital. With the surgeon able to more precisely remove cancerous tissue, the benefit to the patient is a thorough resection with less chance for complication.
[project codename: tumorcnc]