Closed-Loop Active Compensation for Needle Deflection and Target Shift During Cooperatively Controlled Robotic Needle Insertion


Intra-operative imaging is sometimes available to assist needle biopsy, but typical open-loop insertion does not account for unmodeled needle deflection or target shift. Closed-loop image-guided compensation for deviation from an initial straight-line trajectory through rotational control of an asymmetric tip can reduce targeting error. Incorporating robotic closed-loop control often reduces physician interaction with the patient, but by pairing closed-loop trajectory compensation with hands-on cooperatively controlled insertion, a physician’s control of the procedure can be maintained while incorporating benefits of robotic accuracy. A series of needle insertions were performed with a typical 18G needle using closed-loop active compensation under both fully autonomous and user-directed cooperative control. We demonstrated equivalent improvement in accuracy while maintaining physician-in-the-loop control with no statistically significant difference (p > 0.05) in the targeting accuracy between any pair of autonomous or individual cooperative sets, with average targeting accuracy of 3.56 mmrms. With cooperatively controlled insertions and target shift between 1 and 10 mm introduced upon needle contact, the system was able to effectively compensate up to the point where error approached a maximum curvature governed by bending mechanics. These results show closed-loop active compensation can enhance targeting accuracy, and that the improvement can be maintained under user directed cooperative insertion.

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This research was funded by NIH R01 CA111288, NIH R01 CA166379 and NIH R01 EB020667.


NH has a financial interest in Harmonus, a company developing Image Guided Therapy products. NH’s interests were reviewed and are managed by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Partners HealthCare in accordance with their conflict of interest policies.

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Correspondence to Marek Wartenberg.

Additional information

Marek Wartenberg and Joseph Schornak shared first authorship.

Associate Editor Kevin Cleary oversaw the review of this article.

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Wartenberg, M., Schornak, J., Gandomi, K. et al. Closed-Loop Active Compensation for Needle Deflection and Target Shift During Cooperatively Controlled Robotic Needle Insertion. Ann Biomed Eng 46, 1582–1594 (2018).

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  • Image-guided therapy
  • Medical robotics
  • Teleoperation
  • Needle steering