Robotic Needle Ablation Tool and Securement Device

Tumors have historically been removed through surgical intervention but recently many tumors are instead treated with needle tumor ablation. This is a procedure in which needles are inserted manually via a small skin incision, through the muscle and inner tissue layers, towards a tumor. The tumor is destroyed by applying energy through the needle (high frequency heat in the case of radiofrequency ablation and cold energy in the case of cryotherapy). The needle’s trajectory in relation to the patient’s body must be carefully monitored by CT or MRI scans to ensure that the needle does not damage collateral tissues such as blood vessels or other organs. Any displacement of the needle during the procedure may not only result in needle placement error, but could potentially lead to bleeding or rupture of the tumor and the in-situ release of tumor cells. Improvements in CT scan and MRI scan image resolution have advanced needle ablation therapy, allowing even small tumors to be easily detected. However, the need for continual imaging by CT scan results in the use of increased doses of radiation. Indeed, doses can be between 100 to 500 times greater than those used for conventional radiography. Furthermore, as small changes in needle positioning require repeat imaging, the operator must vacate the CT suite many times, adding a significant time delay to the procedure. David Fung 415-502-1640

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