Members press release

Adept, Germany, IFR-Partner

Surgical Robotic Assistants

"Successfully using a robotic system in surgery demands a completely different set of robot operating modes than robotic systems used in industrial settings. Using robots as surgical assistants requires a highly interactive system that does not replace the surgeon but rather supports him/her in certain procedures where human senses and skills are limited," says Jürgen Wahrburg, PhD, senior scientist at the "Zentrum für Sensorsysteme (ZESS)" (Center for Sensor Systems) at the University of Siegen, in Siegen, Germany.

For several years and in close cooperation with physicians, information scientists, and industrial partners the ZESS center has been designing the modiCAS (modular interactive Computer Associated Surgery) project under the direction of Jürgen Wahrburg. This project using new robot controlling and operating methodology uses robots as a surgical assisting system for surgeries. The system is involved in all the surgical steps from planning to operation. modiCAS is the world's first robotic system to support the implantation of acetabular cups, a prosthesis often used in hip replacement, in humans. The Adept Viper s850 robot is one component of the surgical assistance system. The Adept Viper s850 robot provides an arm length of 854 mm, a weight of 29 kgs, and uses open controls to enable the direct activation of the individual joints with precise speeds and torque values.

Adept Prototype of the mechatronic assistant modiCAS

Prototype of the mechatronic assistant modiCAS

3D digitizing devices are used to register the patient's anatomy while the Adept Viper s850 is applied as a mechatronic extension of the navigation system for guiding and positioning the surgical instruments. Using customized controlling and operating functions the Adept Viper s850 is able to be accuratly aligned to the specific surgical requirements. The physician chooses the required robot feature that corresponds to operation task needed, e.g. haptic guidance of the robot by hand or automatic tracking of slight patient movements.

Computer architecture of the mechatronic assistant modiCAS

Computer architecture of the mechatronic assistant modiCAS, Source: University Siegen

Positive experiences
Besides its absolute reliability and durability, Jürgen Wahrburg particularly appreciated the Adept Viper robot's arm reach, slim design, low operating weight and the open controls architecture. Meeting the technical requirements of the robot was only one determining factor in choosing Adept as the supplier, said Jürgen Wahrburg. Other crucial points were the remarkably high technical competence of the Adept application engineers and their practical and detailed advice, as well as Adept's open-mindedness.


Range of application/Application possibilities
The robot's key task as an assistance system in an operating room consists of guiding surgical devices, e.g. endoscopes, cutters, trephines. Even in complex neurosurgery the robot mechatronic assistants can very precisely position surgical devices in an environment where millimeters can make the difference between success and the loss of important nerve tracts.

The advantages of applying a robotic system are obvious. In addition to the exact implementation of the preoperative planning during the surgical procedure and the achievement of very precise drilling and reaming results due to concise tool guidance, the surgeon also benefits from a lower stress-level during a procedure. The robot allows the surgeon to move and rotate devices without any tremor at a precisely defined speed. In spite of these evident advantages, the establishment of mechatronic assistants in the surgical operating arena will still take some time however the potential is clear.

Information flow on a haptic guidance and tracking of patient movements
Source: University Siegen