National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)-funded scientists and engineers are teaming up with neurosurgeons at the University of Maryland to develop technologies that enable less invasive, image-guided removal of hard-to-reach brain tumors. Their technologies combine novel imaging techniques that allow surgeons to see deep within the brain during surgery with robotic systems that enhance the precision of tissue removal.
Brain surgeries often involve intraoperative MRI, allowing the surgeon to work using live imaging for high precision work. However, due to the bulky nature of MRI machines, brain tumors in certain locations are often difficult or impossible for surgeons to reach while the patient is being scanned. The University of Maryland robot is designed to be attached to the patient while outside the scanner. After positioning the head inside the MRI machine, the surgeon would then use a joystick to operate the device, navigate to the tumor and ablate it away.