European Radiology

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 723–730 | Cite as

Accuracy and efficacy of percutaneous biopsy and ablation using robotic assistance under computed tomography guidance: a phantom study

  • Yilun Koethe
  • Sheng Xu
  • Gnanasekar Velusamy
  • Bradford J. Wood
  • Aradhana M. Venkatesan



To compare the accuracy of a robotic interventional radiologist (IR) assistance platform with a standard freehand technique for computed-tomography (CT)-guided biopsy and simulated radiofrequency ablation (RFA).


The accuracy of freehand single-pass needle insertions into abdominal phantoms was compared with insertions facilitated with the use of a robotic assistance platform (n = 20 each). Post-procedural CTs were analysed for needle placement error. Percutaneous RFA was simulated by sequentially placing five 17-gauge needle introducers into 5-cm diameter masses (n = 5) embedded within an abdominal phantom. Simulated ablations were planned based on pre-procedural CT, before multi-probe placement was executed freehand. Multi-probe placement was then performed on the same 5-cm mass using the ablation planning software and robotic assistance. Post-procedural CTs were analysed to determine the percentage of untreated residual target.


Mean needle tip-to-target errors were reduced with use of the IR assistance platform (both P < 0.0001). Reduced percentage residual tumour was observed with treatment planning (P = 0.02).


Improved needle accuracy and optimised probe geometry are observed during simulated CT-guided biopsy and percutaneous ablation with use of a robotic IR assistance platform. This technology may be useful for clinical CT-guided biopsy and RFA, when accuracy may have an impact on outcome.

Key points:

• A recently developed robotic intervention radiology assistance platform facilitates CT-guided interventions.

• Improved accuracy of complex needle insertions is achievable.

• IR assistance platform use can improve target ablation coverage.


Interventional radiology Robotics Image-guided biopsy Ablation techniques 



Interventional radiologist


Radiofrequency ablation



A year-long research fellowship for Y.K. was made possible through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Medical Research Scholars Program, a public-private partnership supported jointly by the NIH and generous contributions to the Foundation for the NIH from Pfizer Inc., The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, as well as other private donors. For a complete list, please visit the Foundation website at The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

X.S.: No potential conflicts of interest to disclose.

G.V. is a full-time salaried employee (Principle Systems Architect, ATO) of Perfint Healthcare Pvt. Ltd. Perfint Healthcare owns intellectual property related to technologies used in this published work, including USPTO # US20130072784, US20120190970, US20130085380, etc. For detailed information, please visit the company website,

B.J.W. and A.M.V: This research was supported by the NIH Intramural Research Program and the NIH Center for Interventional Oncology. The interventional radiologist assistance platform was supplied by Perfint Healthcare Pvt. Ltd. (Chennai, India) under a Materials Transfer Agreement between the NIH Center for Interventional Oncology and Perfint Healthcare. NIH and Perfint Healthcare have discussed details of a draft Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). The content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products or organisations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology (outside the USA) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yilun Koethe
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Sheng Xu
    • 1
  • Gnanasekar Velusamy
    • 4
  • Bradford J. Wood
    • 1
    • 2
  • Aradhana M. Venkatesan
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Center for Interventional Oncology, NIH Clinical CenterNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Radiology and Imaging Sciences, NIH Clinical CenterNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Duke University School of MedicineDurhamUSA
  4. 4.Perfint Healthcare Pvt. Ltd.ChennaiIndia
  5. 5.Center for Interventional Oncology, Radiology and Imaging Sciences, NIH Clinical CenterNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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