Enabling Technologies for Image-Guided Interventions with Minimally Invasive Surgical Robots
Pitt, Edward Bryn
The desire to marry surgical robotics with surgical image guidance can be seen as a natural response to the limitations imposed by minimally invasive surgery. Compared to the human hand, surgical robots can offer reduced size, increased precision, increased flexibility, increased dexterity, and increased strength. Meanwhile, surgical image guidance provides tools to enable anatomical visualization and spatial context beyond what a surgeon can achieve by direct visualization. This dissertation explores several novel technologies at the intersection of these two fields, with the overall goal of developing and validating novel approaches to image-guided interventions that are specifically enabled by the use of surgical robotics. This dissertation addresses two distinct clinical applications: (i) an envisioned neurosurgical procedure for incisionless, transforamenal hippocampotomy to treat temporal lobe epilepsy; and (ii) robot-assisted partial nephrectomy to treat renal cell carcinomas. The identified clinical needs inform the nature of this work in each area. In the neurosurgical domain, where image guidance is a mature clinical practice, this dissertation focuses on developing new robotic tools that could revolutionize existing image-guided procedures. In the urologic domain, where surgical robots are a key enabling technology, this dissertation seeks to endow these systems with image guidance capabilities that could give surgeons superhuman sight.