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Robot-assisted biopsy using ultrasound guidance: initial results from in vitro tests

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The purpose of this study was to develop a robotic system for ultrasound (US)-guided biopsy and to validate the feasibility, accuracy and efficacy using phantom tests. Twenty peas (mean diameter 9.3±0.1 mm) embedded within a gel-phantom were selected for biopsy. Once the best access was defined, the position of the US transducer was recorded by an optical tracking system. Positional data of the transducer and the corresponding US image were transferred to the roboter planning system (LINUX-based industrial PC equipped with video capture card). Once the appropriate position, angulation and pitch were calculated, the robotic arm moved automatically with seven degrees-of-freedom to the planned insertion path, aiming the needle-positioning unit at the center of the target. Then, the biopsy was performed manually using a coaxial technique. The length of all harvested specimens was measured, and the deviation of the actual needle tract from the center of the target was evaluated sonographically. In all targets, the biopsy specimen (mean length 5±1.2 mm) was harvested with only one needle pass required The mean deviation of the needle tip from the center of the target was 1.1±0.8 mm. Robotic assisted biopsies in-vitro using US-guidance were feasible and provided high accuracy.

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The development of the robotic system was co-funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT). The authors wish to acknowledge the significant contributions of Ludwig Kleiser, Kurt Renauer and Gerald Nittmann (ARC Seibersdorf Research) and Johann Hummel (Department of Biomedical Engineering and Physics, Medical University of Vienna). This study was supported in part by the Ludwig-Boltzmann Institute (director: C. Herold) for clinical and experimental radiology. We are grateful to Mary McAllister, Johns Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore, MD, for manuscript assistance.

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Correspondence to Joachim Kettenbach.

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Kettenbach, J., Kronreif, G., Figl, M. et al. Robot-assisted biopsy using ultrasound guidance: initial results from in vitro tests. Eur Radiol 15, 765–771 (2005).

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