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Medicine Technology

Robot Performs Prostate Surgery Inside an MRI 64

the_newsbeagle writes: Researchers have developed a non-metallic robot with ceramic piezoelectric motors that functions inside an MRI machine, allowing surgeons to perform procedures guided by real-time imaging. It's now being tested in prostate biopsies. Doctors say this system will let them aim their needles more precisely and reduce the number of times they stick them in. The NIH thinks such systems could come in handy for neurosurgery too. Gregory Fischer, a professor of mechanical engineering at WPI whose Automation and Interventional Medicine Robotics Lab led the research says: "You can bring it into any MRI room and have it up and running in an hour. It can locate the target, track the needle, and if it deflects during insertion, it can steer the needle to hit the target. We’re taking baby steps to get the robot into clinical use."
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Robot Performs Prostate Surgery Inside an MRI

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 08, 2015 @09:08PM (#50073381)

    First post, some crazy rant about the hosts file, moo moo cows, obligatory robotic overlords meme, etc.

  • like a motherfucker.
  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot.hackish@org> on Wednesday July 08, 2015 @09:22PM (#50073405)

    I was just reading about an MRI that performs robot repair inside a prostate, so this headline really tripped me up for a second.

  • Somebody did not fully explain this situation to the patient.

    I mean, I wouldn't ever be the first guy verifying the test procedures for something so, um, delicate.

    • Yeah, but imagine all the freaky bastards that are now standing in line!
      • *shudder* Wow, that whole Rule #34 thing just won't go away, will it?

        Bad internets! Bad bad internets.

        Dirty, naughty internets. There must be punishments. A spanking, I think.

        • Wow, I hadn't really thought it through that far. I was just thinking of trying to find an alternate way of saying - "Whatever rolls your socks up and down!" And now I know about rule #34. What I am really afraid of is that there will be another human centipede sequel. Just when it couldn't get any worse!
  • This can go wrong is soooo many ways...

    • leaving the cancer to grow doesn't exactly have a good outcome, either

    • no no no no No NO NO!

      They got the headline wrong, should read : ROBOT ATTACKS PROSTATE of MAN TRAPPED in MRI with NEEDLES

      I'm sure the younger generation will accept this as a beneficial advancement and not some of the scariest parts of the major motion picture "Prometheus".
  • First Use? (Score:5, Funny)

    by BiggerIsBetter ( 682164 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2015 @09:54PM (#50073497)

    Bunch of geniuses invent robotic surgical equipment that can operate in an intense magnetic field.

    What's the first thing they want to do with it?

    "Stick it up his arse!"

  • Messy IEEE article (Score:5, Informative)

    by RandCraw ( 1047302 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2015 @10:45PM (#50073675)

    The original IEEE story is about the use of MRI when doing prostate cancer biopsies, not prostate cancer surgery, which is almost always the radical removal of the prostate -- something that would not be aided appreciably by MRI. (The visual field is already outstandingly clearly illuminated during a DaVinci robotic procedure. Seeing *within* the prostate would be unnecessary during removal.) Likewise, prostate surgeries for BPH (enlarged gland) won't warrant MR either, since the procedure is already well served by a simple camera attached to a trochar.

    The article also fails to mention how economically feasible the use of MRI would be for biopsy, given the high cost of MR in general (perhaps 10x more than CT, which is perhaps 5X the cost of ultrasound, which is what's used now). In practice, it's more likely that advances in ultrasound (like doppler) will prove more useful and feasible for biopsy than will MR.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by FranTaylor ( 164577 )

      The article also fails to mention how economically feasible the use of MRI would be for biopsy, given the high cost of MR in general

      An MRI costs $280 in France, $1080 in the USA. The CURRENT prostate biopsy procedure costs well over $2000 in the USA. Guess what? Google is your friend.

      • That's because in american health care system we have to 10 CEO's before the patient is allowed to the see the doctor first.

        In france they lowered it to just 3 ceo's

        • That's because in american health care system we have to 10 CEO's before the patient is allowed to the see the doctor first.

          In france they lowered it to just 3 ceo's

          as opposed to many eastern european countries where Americans and those with cash under the table see the doctor first. Unless you don't want to wake up...

      • Yeah, the cost of prostate biopsies should go down somewhat. As a specialty, Pathology has gotten whacked in recent years on reimbursement rates. The current rule for reimbursements on prostate biopsies was finalized in Jan for 2015. I posted a link, but you may need to agree to TOS, etc. If so, look up code G0416 which is for prostate biopsies of any amount. Medical billing is a cryptic and mysterious art and I'm (thankfully?) shielded from that, but as near as I can tell it's going to cost somewhere betwe

    • The article also fails to mention how economically feasible the use of MRI would be for biopsy, given the high cost of MR in general (perhaps 10x more than CT, which is perhaps 5X the cost of ultrasound, which is what's used now). In practice, it's more likely that advances in ultrasound (like doppler) will prove more useful and feasible for biopsy than will MR.

      The extra cost may be worth it if the results are good enough. Here [abc.net.au] is a radio interview (with transcript) from an Australian doctor using MRIs for prostate exams, claiming fewer false positives resulting in unnecessary procedures, and better diagnosis of real prostate cancers.

  • I'm surprised the researchers were not aware that you can build robots with servos that aren't even in the same room as the "business end" of the robot. Plastic parts don't have to be actuated by locally mounted servos.

    As a bonus, you don't have to build tiny servos, or have them packed together in a tiny volume, which drastically reduces the overall cost of the robot itself, as well as them being a heck of a lot easier to repair (making them even cheaper in terms of lifecycle cost).

    • Plastic parts don't have to be actuated by locally mounted servos.

      plastic parts won't do well in the autoclave

      • by Prune ( 557140 )
        So instead of plastic you use ceramic (glazed so it's non-porous) or some other high temperature dielectric. GP's main point still stands.
  • While removing the ferromagnetic materials in motors solves one problem, how do they deal with the wires/cables for power and control signals? It doesn't matter if the material they're made of is non-ferromagnetic metal or some other conductor, such as conductive ceramic — the conductors by virtue of being conductors will get current induced in them through both (1) moving through the magnetic field as the robot moves, and (2) from the MRI's RF. I did not see in TFA how they address this. Can someone
    • I'm just speculating, but if I were designing it the first thing I'd try would be twisted pair wiring. It's highly resistant to magnetic interference because the induction in one wire is perfectly balanced by induction in another - and you only need to get the connections made to piezo elements, which run off a voltage differential. All the sophisticated electronics can sit in a box some distance away.

  • i bet some terrorists designed it.
  • Nice but why do prostate biopsies at all?

    If it's the aggressive cancer version, you're fucked anyway, if not, it doesn't matter since you'll be dead anyway long before it becomes a problem.

    Just make your testament.

  • ...welcome out new prostate-probing robotic overlords.

  • I had one (prostate biopsy) about 10 yrs ago. The doc that ordered it did so because of a single elevated PSA. No robots, no MRI, just a doctor and nurse with an ultrasound machine and a tube up my butt. They moved the tube guided by the ultrasound image. press a button and it shoots a hollow needle through the colon wall into the prostrate. Basically, core drilling into body parts. Hurts like hell. Retrieve the needle with sample, put new needle into machine, lather, rinse, repeat. Blood in my piss and come for a week. Diagnosis was BPH. I cant see how robots and being confined to an MRI will make it any more effective or painless; just more expensive.
  • ...and here I thought I couldn't dread going into an MRI machine any more than I already did...

  • I didn't realize MRIs had prostates..

    you learn something new every day!

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