ENT challenges at the small scale

C J Coulson, A P Reid, D W Proops, P N Brett
International Journal of Medical Robotics + Computer Assisted Surgery: MRCAS 2007, 3 (2): 91-6

BACKGROUND: In this paper we consider two relatively frequently performed operations in the field of ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgery and consider how they could be improved by using robotic applications. We consider currently available robots and propose theoretical robotic solutions.

METHODS: The application of robotic systems for both cochlear implantation and endoscopic sinus surgery was considered. Currently available robotic systems were reviewed and those with potential use in ENT surgery were identified. For aspects of operations where there is no available technology, hypotheses are presented on how robots could help.

RESULTS: Three robotic systems were identified with potential usage in ENT: the Pathfinder neurosurgical robot, the Acrobot knee replacement system and the autonomous smart drill for drilling a cochleostomy.

CONCLUSIONS: The challenge for the future of ENT is being able to perform tasks beyond the level of human perception and abilities. The examples presented here demonstrate that microtechnologies could be used to reduce complications, decrease operating time and improve clinical results.

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