Surgical Robots for Anesthesia Procedures may be a Future Option

August 27, 2010

A study featured in Anesthesia & Analgesia demonstrated that a multipurpose surgical robot could be adapted for simulated nerve block placement.

A study featured in Anesthesia & Analgesia demonstrated that a multipurpose surgical robot could be adapted for simulated nerve block placement.

The robot could be used to perform complex regional anesthesia procedures, which would allow expert anesthesiologists to perform robot-assisted procedures from remote locations.

In the study, the researchers evaluated the feasibility of performing robot-assisted regional anesthesia procedures. They performed simulations by utilizing a surgical robot called the da Vinci system. The procedures were not performed on actual patients. The team used an ultrasound “phantom” that simulated what the anesthesiologist would see when performing ultrasound-guided procedures.

Once the ultrasound probe was placed, the anesthesiologist successfully carried out a simulated procedure, which included indentifying nerve structures, picking up the needles and positioning it at targeted nerves, and performing the injection.

The team also tested the robot in a more technically advanced regional anesthesia procedure. They attempted to place a perineural catheter for continuous nerve block. Some of the steps needed to be performed manually, but most were successfully performed by the da Vinci operator.