Robot-assisted needle placement in open MRI: system architecture, integration and validation.


In prostate cancer treatment, there is a move toward targeted interventions for biopsy and therapy, which has precipitated the need for precise image-guided methods for needle placement. This paper describes an integrated system for planning and performing percutaneous procedures with robotic assistance under MRI guidance. A graphical planning interface allows the physician to specify the set of desired needle trajectories, based on anatomical structures and lesions observed in the patient’s registered pre-operative and pre-procedural MR images, immediately prior to the intervention in an open-bore MRI scanner. All image-space coordinates are automatically computed, and are used to position a needle guide by means of an MRI-compatible robotic manipulator, thus avoiding the limitations of the traditional fixed needle template. Automatic alignment of real-time intra-operative images aids visualization of the needle as it is manually inserted through the guide. Results from in-scanner phantom experiments are provided.