A Pilot Study of Robot-Assisted Cochlear Implant Surgery Using Steerable Electrode Arrays

  • Jian Zhang
  • Kai Xu
  • Nabil Simaan
  • Spiros Manolidis
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4190)


This paper presents results of a pilot study evaluating the efficacy of robotic assistance using novel steerable electrode arrays for cochlear implant surgery. The current surgical setup of cochlear implant surgery is briefly reviewed and its limitations are highlighted. In an effort to reduce trauma to the structure of the cochlea, the kinematics and path planning for novel cochlear steerable electrodes are developed to minimize the interaction forces between the electrode and the cochlea. An experimental robotic system is used to compare the electrode insertion forces of steerable implants with those of non-steerable electrodes. The results of these experiments show about 70% reduction in the insertion forces when steerable electrodes are used with our proposed path planning and control. A distance metric explaining this reduction in the insertion force is defined and experimentally validated. Although this is only a preliminary study, we believe that these results provide a strong indication to the potential of robot-assisted cochlear implant surgery to provide a significant reduction in trauma rates during cochlear implant surgery.


Path Planning Insertion Depth Electrode Insertion Path Planning Algorithm Insertion Force 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jian Zhang
    • 1
  • Kai Xu
    • 1
  • Nabil Simaan
    • 1
  • Spiros Manolidis
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical Engineerin, Laboratory of Advanced Robotics and Mechanism ApplicationsColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck SurgeryNew YorkUSA

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