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Robotic surgical arm boosts accuracy, reduces time for neurosurgical procedures

A new robotic surgical arm is proving its worth during neurosurgery, according to University of Minnesota Health experts.

A new robotic surgical arm is helping University of Minnesota Health neurosurgeons reduce surgical time and boost precision when operating on the human brain.

University of Minnesota Health teams are the first in the upper Midwest to employ the robotic arm, which was developed by MedTech Innovative Surgical Technology and is known as the “ROSA.”

Scroll down to watch the ROSA surgical arm in action.

Neurosurgeon Michael C. Park, MD, PhD, has already used the ROSA to help implant electrodes for epilepsy. There is very little room for error during the procedure; in order to be effective, the electrodes must be placed in proximity to the source of epileptic brain activity.

The dexterity and precision of the surgical arm have proven helpful during the electrode placement. The minimally invasive device is also equipped with a “GPS”-like guidance system that helps a surgical team “see” inside the skull in real time—another advantage for the surgical team.

“Stereotactic guidance is key, putting the instrument into the right area and right target through a correct pathway,” Park said. “Typically, placing each electrode would take 30 minutes to an hour per electrode. We can do it in 10 minutes with ROSA. It saves time, but not at the expense of precision and accuracy.”

The arm has many other uses beyond electrode placement for epilepsy treatment. Specialists can also employ it during biopsies and tumor resections, or during certain other open-skull procedures. Park also hopes to use the device for deep brain stimulation electrode placement to help treat Parkinson's disease patients.

Watch a 360-degree video as Neurosurgeon Michael C. Park, MD, PhD, uses a ROSA to help implant electrodes into the brain of an epilepsy patient.