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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can provide high-quality 3-D visualization of prostate and surrounding tissue, thus granting potential to be a superior medical imaging modality for guiding and monitoring prostatic interventions. However, the benefits cannot be readily harnessed for interventional procedures due to difficulties that surround the use of high-field (1.5T or greater) MRI. The inability to use conventional mechatronics and the confined physical space makes it extremely challenging to access the patient. We have designed a robotic assistant system that overcomes these difficulties and promises safe and reliable intraprostatic needle placement inside closed high-field MRI scanners. MRI compatibility of the robot has been evaluated under 3T MRI using standard prostate imaging sequences and average SNR loss is limited to 5%. Needle alignment accuracy of the robot under servo pneumatic control is better than 0.94 mm rms per axis. The complete system workflow has been evaluated in phantom studies with accurate visualization and targeting of five out of five 1 cm targets. The paper explains the robot mechanism and controller design, the system integration, and presents results of preliminary evaluation of the system.
Date of Publication: June 2008