Soon, image guided surgical robots to perform brain surgery
Canadian brainchild is milestone in medical technology

Russia Herald

CALGARY — Researchers at the University of Calgary in Canada claim to have developed the world's first image guided surgical robot that promises to enhance accuracy and safety of brain surgery.

Christened neuroArm, the robot aims to revolutionize neurosurgery and other branches of operative medicine by "liberating them from the constraints of the human hand".

The brainchild of Dr Garnette Sutherland and his team, neuroArm, which is also the world's first MRI compatible surgical robot, took six years in the making.

According to the Canadian research team led by Dr. Sutherland, which designed the robot in collaboration with MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA), neuroArm is a machine "that represents a milestone in medical technology".

"Many of our microsurgical techniques evolved in the 1960s, and have pushed surgeons to the limits of their precision, accuracy, dexterity and stamina.

NeuroArm dramatically enhances the spatial resolution at which surgeons operate, and shifts surgery from the organ towards the cell level," said Dr. Sutherland, professor of neurosurgery, University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine and the Calgary Health Region.

Designed to be controlled by a surgeon from a computer workstation, neuroArm operates in conjunction with real-time MR imaging, providing surgeons unprecedented detail and control and enabling them to manipulate tools at a microscopic scale.

Dr. Sutherland said advanced surgical testing of neuroArm is currently underway, adding it is to be soon followed by the first patient, anticipated for this summer.

"The launch of neuroArm places the U of C and the Calgary Health Region at the forefront of the emerging field of biomedical engineering, and establishes Canada's leadership role in image-guided robotic surgery," said U of C President Harvey Weingarten, PhD.

"The Calgary Health Region considers the introduction of the neuroArm an historic moment in our ability to provide unprecedented care and safety to patients in Alberta. We are extremely proud to be a partner in neuroArm and to have worked with such a dedicated team of individuals and funding partners," added Jack Davis, Calgary Health Region's Chief Executive Officer and President.

— April 23, 2008