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In this paper, we present the design of a novel 5-DOF manipulator for percutaneous needle insertion. The requirements of the manipulator have been instigated by a relatively common medical procedure: low-dose rate brachytherapy of the prostate. The manipulator can perform orientation, insertion, and rotation of the needle and linear motion of the stylet to drop radioactive seeds contained in a thin hollow needle (cannula) at targeted locations. The key features of the manipulator such as backdrivable joints, a fault-tolerant needle driver, stationary actuators, and redundant sensors enhance overall safety and reliability of the mechanism, a critical requirement for surgical manipulators. The manipulator is an integral part of a system utilizing a mechanically rotated side-firing transducer to create 3-D ultrasound images of the organ and utilizing 3-D SLICER software to visualize those images. Experimental results in agar phantoms prove that the manipulator is capable of positioning the needle tip at the targeted locations with good accuracy.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2009