Design of an Image Guided Bone Milling Robot

This project focusses on the design and realization of a new precision surgical bone removal robot to solve medical unmet needs. The robot can use high quality CT image data for autonomous bone removal or the surgeon can drive the robot manually. 

PhD Candidate: ir. Jordan Bos
Supervisors: M. Steinbuch, P.C.J.N. Rosielle
Promotor: M. Steinbuch
Project Period: April 2013 – April 2017

A new surgical robot for precision bone removal (Fig. 1) has been designed which enables safer, faster, more accurate and less invasive bone removal. Assistance during risky and exhausting procedures in the skull (base) and ear is our main focus (Fig. 2 and 3); during cancer removal and hearing improvement surgery.

The result is a compact serial robotic arm with seven axes. It is built from identical modular units and gives the possibility to have a high rigidity, dexterity and large range of motion at relatively low costs.  The robot can achieve an estimated accuracy of 50 µm, can cope with forces up to 50 N and has only a moving mass of 7.5 kg. Furthermore, the robot can be guided autonomously using CT image data, but can also be driven manually by the surgeon. The robot is attached to a box which can rotate around the headrest. The skull of the patient is rigidly fixated to the headrest using bone screws. Consequently, the patient is rigidly connected with respect to the robot.

With the help of this robot, the number of complications could be lowered, surgery time could be reduced with hours and the amount of bone removed can  be reduced up to a factor 30. Parts of the robot are currently being realized and tested. Pre-clinical tests are scheduled in one year.