Los Angeles: Using a robot to treat brain aneurysms is feasible and could allow for improved precision when placing stents, coils and other devices, according to a recent study. Brain aneurysms are bulging or ballooning in a blood vessel in the brain which could potentially prove to be deadly.
The research was presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2020.
Robotic technology is used in surgery and cardiology, but not for brain vascular procedures. However, in this study, Canadian researchers reported the results of the first robotic brain vascular procedures.
They used a robotic system specifically adapted for neurovascular procedures. Software and hardware adaptations enabled it to accommodate microcatheters, guidewires and the other devices used for endovascular procedures in the brain.
These modifications also provide the operator with additional precise fine-motor control compared to previous systems.
“This experience is the first step towards achieving our vision of remote neurovascular procedures,” said lead researcher Vitor Mendes Pereira, M.D., M.Sc., a neurosurgeon and neuroradiologist at the Toronto Western Hospital, and professor of medical imaging and surgery at the University of Toronto in Canada.
In the first case, a 64-year-old female patient was presented with an unruptured aneurysm at the base of her skull. The surgical team successfully used the robot to place a stent and then, using the same microcatheter, entered the aneurysm sac and secured the aneurysm by placing various coils.
All intracranial steps were performed with the robotic arm. Since this first case, the team has successfully performed five additional aneurysm treatments using the robot, which included deploying various devices.
“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,” he added.