Surgical robotics is one of the most dynamically advancing areas of biomedical engineering. In the past few decades, computer-integrated interventional medicine has gained significance internationally in the field of surgical procedures. More recently, mechatronic devices have been used for nephrectomy, cholecystectomy, as well as in orthopedics and radiosurgery. Estimates show that 70% of the radical prostatectomies were performed with the da Vinci robot in the United States last year. Robot-aided procedures offer remarkable advantages in neurosurgery both for the patient and the surgeon, making microsurgery and Minimally Invasive Surgery a reality, and even complete teleoperation accessible. This paper introduces surgical robotic systems developed primarily for brain and spine applications, besides, it focuses on the different research strategies applied to provide smarter, better and more advanced tools to surgeons. A new system is discussed in details that we have developed together with the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. This cooperatively-controlled system can assist with skull base drilling to improve the safety and quality of neurosurgery while reducing the operating time. The paper presents the entire system, the preliminary results of phantom and cadaver tests and our efforts to improve the accuracy of the components. An effective optical tracking based patient motion compensation method has been implemented and tested. The results verify the effectiveness of the system and allow for further research.
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