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Research

Robotics could be the future of stroke surgery

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Stroke surgery and other neuro-endovascular procedures could be made safer and easier through robotics, research suggests.

A study presented at the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery’s (SNIS) 19th annual meeting, showed that a new multi-articulated self-steering microcatheter for neuroendovascular surgery has the potential to increase technical precision, reduce procedural time, reduce radiation exposure and enable semi-automation of catheter navigation.

For patients this means that they could expect safer and more efficient surgeries, better outcomes and an overall seamless experience. 

The type of technology involved in the study could be applicable to any neurovascular procedure, all of which require navigation through small, tortuous, delicate vessels.

As well as stroke, these pathologies include brain aneurysms, AVMs, AV fistulae and others.

Researchers of the study, based at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, tested robotics through mock trials. 

The prototype they produced autonomously navigated through the surgery simulation.

Neuroendovascular surgery treats complex brain and spinal cord conditions by inserting a thin tube (catheter) into blood vessels to deliver medication, treatments or dyes into the brain, spinal cord or nerves. 

The procedures are minimally invasive, pose less risk to patients and often result in quick recovery.

Rohan Chitale, MD, lead author of the study said: “The creation of this technology is a first step toward semi-autonomous navigation for neuroendovascular procedures.

“We hope that developing robotic catheters that can bend on command and sense their surroundings will allow these complex, risky procedures to be performed more simply and safely.”

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