06.02.2024 – Of all types of cancer, brain tumors cause the most deaths in adults under 40. An important part of the treatment is the complete resection of the tumor. To enable safe and complete resection, ultrasound is a real-time intraoperative imaging tool for the identification of residual pathologic tissue and intraoperative re-planning. The collection and interpretation of data is of crucial importance here, but presents several challenges, which is why this methodology is not yet widely established in neurosurgery.

Scientists at the DLR-Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics are working intensively on this topic and possible solutions. The results of their research work can now be found in the paper “Towards Safe and Collaborative Robotic Ultrasound Tissue Scanning in Neurosurgery”. This publication presents a new and versatile robotic platform for the intraoperative ultrasound examination of tissue in neurosurgery. An RGB-D camera attached to the robotic arm enables automatic object localization and 3D surface reconstruction as a triangular mesh using a software solution from ImFusion GmbH. Impedance-controlled guidance of the ultrasound probe enables collaborative ultrasound scanning, i.e. autonomous, teleoperated or hand-guided data acquisition.

This approach should support neurosurgeons in the acquisition of ultrasound data, reduce the workload and achieve a high level of reproducibility. This could also counteract the shortage of specialist sonographers and neuroradiologists.

The paper was published on January 04, 2024 in the well-known journal IEEE Transactions on Medical Robotics and Bionics (Print ISSN: 2576-3202; Online ISSN: 2576-3202).

You can find the publication online here.