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The advent of high-precision magnetic and robotic computer-controlled neurosurgery systems makes it necessary to determine the range of forces that will be encountered by the probes of such devices as they are guided through the brain tissues to intraparenchymal targets. The authors have measured the penetration forces on 2.5-mm spheres and the drag forces on 3.0-mm ventricular shunt catheters advanced 2.0-3.5 cm deep into in vivo human brain tissues (in patients about to have those tissues resected during epilepsy surgery) at rates of ≈0.33 mm s -1. Penetration forces of (8±2) grams were found for the spherical probe once it passed 0.5 cm below the cortical surface, and frictional drags of (2.8±0.3) grams cm -1 were exerted on the catheters. The variable nature of these forces is discussed and the results are compared with earlier studies on experimental animal tissues and brain phantom gelatins. The implications of these results for magnetic and robotic surgery systems are considered.
Date of Publication: July 1999