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Despite the potential increase in precision and accuracy, laser technology is not widely used in neurological surgery. This in part relates to challenges associated with the early introduction of lasers into neurosurgery. Considerable advances in laser technology have occurred, which together with robotic technology could create an ideal platform for neurosurgical application. In this study, a 980-nm contact diode laser was integrated with neuroArm. Preclinical evaluation involved partial hepatectomy, bilateral nephrectomy, splenectomy, and bilateral submandibular gland excision in a Sprague-Dawley rat model (n = 50). Total surgical time, blood loss as weight of surgical gauze before and after the procedure, and the incidence of thermal, vascular, or lethal injury were recorded and converted to an overall performance score. Thermal damage was evaluated in the liver using tissue samples stained with hematoxylin and eosin. Clinical studies involved step-wise integration of the 980-nm laser system into four neurosurgical cases. Results demonstrate the successful integration of contact laser technology into microsurgery, with and without robotic assistance. In preclinical studies, the laser improved microsurgical performance and reduced thermal damage, while neuroArm decreased intra- and intersurgeon variability. Clinical studies demonstrate dutility in meningioma resection (n = 4). Together, laser and robotic technology offered a more consistent, expedient, and precise tool for microsurgery.
Date of Publication: April 2013