Human-Robot Collaborative Mastoidectomy: Combining Human Path Adaptation with Robotic Accuracy
Wellborn, Patrick Smith
Despite the benefits of robot-assisted bone drilling in surgical specialties such as orthopaedics, as indicated by multiple commercial surgical robots used in this field, translation of similar technology to temporal bone drilling in otologic surgery has not yet afforded a commercial device. Some obstacles that prevent direct translation of the existing orthopaedic bone drilling surgical robots to use in temporal bone drilling are the significantly higher accuracy needed, the greater consequence of damage to vital anatomy, and the much smaller surgical workspace of the temporal bone compared to a knee or hip. A possible solution to the translation of robot-assisted drilling technology to otologic surgery is human-robot collaboration. The overall aim of this dissertation is to combine the best aspects of surgeons and robots in a collaborative system with the ability to adapt the procedure intraoperatively for improved mastoidectomy, the drilling of the mastoid region of temporal bone. This dissertation presents two paths that converge on this objective: taking an autonomous approach and giving it human surgeon adaptability for more efficient drilling, and taking a surgeon and giving him/her robotic accuracy through an inherently safe cooperative device. By approaching the problem from both directions, it can be seen that the autonomous robotic device with human surgeon adaptability is the best solution for the patient due to its inherent accuracy and repeatability. However, this solution is likely to take much longer for clinical adoption and to become a commercial product. As a more immediate solution, an inherently safe, cooperative device that is able to stop the surgical drill from hitting vital anatomy or entering a no-fly zone has a quicker path to clinical adoption for improved patient safety in mastoidectomy.
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