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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Computer Aided Surgery training for Physicians and Engineers

Final Activity Report Summary - COMPU SURGE (Computer aided surgery training for physicians and engineers)

With respect to the current demographic development in Europe, a growing demand for sophisticated medical therapy is foreseeable. To reduce morbidity from operations and to improve the overall quality of therapy in terms of better precision and less traumatic surgical interventions, minimally invasive techniques will have to be increasingly applied in medical and surgical routine. Computer-assisted surgery is such a minimally invasive method. It allows the precise planning of interventions and the intra-operative transfer of these plans exactly as desired. In the future, such modern methods will revolutionise the medical supply in European countries and worldwide.

In this context, the COMPU SURGE training programme is centred to advance the implementation of such new surgical techniques by training both engineers and physicians together in the emerging field of computer-assisted surgery. This innovative and interdisciplinary approach allows establishing a mutual understanding between medically and technically educated students.

All four sub-projects, two for neurosurgery and two for maxillofacial surgery, have been progressing well technically, with good achievements across the board.

Sub-project 1, the 'Navigated milling machine' for bone structures of the head, has continued development throughout 2009 and is now seen as a mature system. Testing has been completed, and in the last period of the year has undergone evaluation by the surgeons at Heidelberg.

Sub-project 2, the 'Bone repositioning system' was tested with a light-weight robot, the LBR3 from KUKA GmbH. The system includes of a custom-made coupling device, with an in-between component which separates the sterile area of the surgical tool from the rest of the robot. An embedded camera provides the relative positioning information to move the robot arm. The easy, force-free coupling achieved with the system allows the surgeon to move the robot arm and couple to bone segments without collision, hence minimising patient hazard. Practical experiments were performed with a phantom to validate the method. With the submission of a patent the work was completed in this project. The patent was submitted in partnership with KUKA Roboter GmbH, Germany.

Sub-project 3, the 'Augmented and virtual reality surgical microscope' uses 3D modelling with enhancements of the soft body tissues of the brain. Its haptic interface is used to simulate the brain palpation with surgical tools. The entire virtual scene is shown directly inside the surgeon's microscope oculars. The complete system was tested with surgeons with good results.

Sub-project 4, taking 'Neuroendoscopy towards augmented reality' (NEAR), was completed to a mature level and talks with the endoscope Manufacturer Wolf for further development are ongoing. The system's accuracy was tested and confirmed in laboratory conditions.