A Fully Actuated Robotic Assistant for MRI-Guided Prostate Biopsy and Brachytherapy.



Intra-operative medical imaging enables incorporation of human experience and intelligence in a controlled, closed-loop fashion. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an ideal modality for surgical guidance of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, with its ability to perform high resolution, real-time, high soft tissue contrast imaging without ionizing radiation. However, for most current image-guided approaches only static pre-operative images are accessible for guidance, which are unable to provide updated information during a surgical procedure. The high magnetic field, electrical interference, and limited access of closed-bore MRI render great challenges to developing robotic systems that can perform inside a diagnostic high-field MRI while obtaining interactively updated MR images. To overcome these limitations, we are developing a piezoelectrically actuated robotic assistant for actuated percutaneous prostate interventions under real-time MRI guidance. Utilizing a modular design, the system enables coherent and straight forward workflow for various percutaneous interventions, including prostate biopsy sampling and brachytherapy seed placement, using various needle driver configurations. The unified workflow compromises: 1) system hardware and software initialization, 2) fiducial frame registration, 3) target selection and motion planning, 4) moving to the target and performing the intervention (e.g. taking a biopsy sample) under live imaging, and 5) visualization and verification. Phantom experiments of prostate biopsy and brachytherapy were executed under MRI-guidance to evaluate the feasibility of the workflow. The robot successfully performed fully actuated biopsy sampling and delivery of simulated brachytherapy seeds under live MR imaging, as well as precise delivery of a prostate brachytherapy seed distribution with an RMS accuracy of 0.98mm.


MRI-compatible robot; Magnetic resonance imaging; automated needle insertion; image-guided intervention; piezoelectric actuation; prostate biopsy; prostate brachytherapy