, Volume 266, Issue 7, pp 955-960
Date: 21 Oct 2008

New strategies for high precision surgery of the temporal bone using a robotic approach for cochlear implantation

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The aim of the study was to demonstrate a collision-free trajectory of an instrument through the facial recess to the site of planned cochleostomy guided by a surgery robot. The indication for cochlear implantation is still expanding toward more substantial residual hearing. A cochleostomy as atraumatic as possible will influence the preservation of inner ear function. The employment of a highly precise instrument guidance using a robot could represent a feasible solution for a constant reproducible surgical procedure. Screw markers for a point-based registration were fixed on a human temporal bone specimen prepared with a mastoidectomy and posterior tympanotomy. A DICOM dataset has been generated thereof in a 64-multislice computer tomography (CT). A virtual trajectory in a 3D model has been planned representing the path of instrumentation toward the desired spot of cochleostomy. A 1.9-mm endoscope has been mounted onto the robot system RobaCKa (Staeubli RX90CR) to visualize this trajectory. The target registration error added up to 0.25 mm, which met the desirable tolerance of <0.5 mm. A collision-free propagation of the endoscope into the tympanic cavity via the facial recess has been performed by the robot and the spot of cochleostomy could be visualized through the endoscope. Using a DICOM dataset of a high-resolution CT and a robot as a positioning platform for surgical instruments could be a feasible approach to perform a highly precise and constant reproducible cochleostomy. Furthermore, it could be a crucial step to preserve substantial residual hearing in terms of expanding the indications for cochlear implantation.

This paper was presented at the 79th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Erfurt, May 2005, and at the 9th International Conference on Cochlear Implants and Related Sciences, Vienna, June 2006.