Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 123, Issue 7, pp 737–750 | Cite as

Experimental new automatic tools for robotic stereotactic neurosurgery: towards “no hands” procedure of leads implantation into a brain target

  • P. Mazzone
  • P. Arena
  • L. Cantelli
  • G. Spampinato
  • S. Sposato
  • S. Cozzolino
  • P. Demarinis
  • G. Muscato
Neurology and Preclinical Neurological Studies - Original Article


The use of robotics in neurosurgery and, particularly, in stereotactic neurosurgery, is becoming more and more adopted because of the great advantages that it offers. Robotic manipulators easily allow to achieve great precision, reliability, and rapidity in the positioning of surgical instruments or devices in the brain. The aim of this work was to experimentally verify a fully automatic “no hands” surgical procedure. The integration of neuroimaging to data for planning the surgery, followed by application of new specific surgical tools, permitted the realization of a fully automated robotic implantation of leads in brain targets. An anthropomorphic commercial manipulator was utilized. In a preliminary phase, a software to plan surgery was developed, and the surgical tools were tested first during a simulation and then on a skull mock-up. In such a way, several tools were developed and tested, and the basis for an innovative surgical procedure arose. The final experimentation was carried out on anesthetized “large white” pigs. The determination of stereotactic parameters for the correct planning to reach the intended target was performed with the same technique currently employed in human stereotactic neurosurgery, and the robotic system revealed to be reliable and precise in reaching the target. The results of this work strengthen the possibility that a neurosurgeon may be substituted by a machine, and may represent the beginning of a new approach in the current clinical practice. Moreover, this possibility may have a great impact not only on stereotactic functional procedures but also on the entire domain of neurosurgery.


Brain stimulation Neurosurgery Medical robotics Robot kinematics 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Mazzone
    • 1
  • P. Arena
    • 2
  • L. Cantelli
    • 2
  • G. Spampinato
    • 3
  • S. Sposato
    • 4
  • S. Cozzolino
    • 5
  • P. Demarinis
    • 5
  • G. Muscato
    • 2
  1. 1.Operative Unit for Stereotactic and Functional NeurosurgeryRegional Center for Functional Neurosurgery and DBS, ASL RM2RomeItaly
  2. 2.DIEEI Università degli Studi di CataniaCataniaItaly
  3. 3.Malardalen UniversityVästeråsSweden
  4. 4.Neuroradiology, ASL RM2RomeItaly
  5. 5.AO CardarelliNaplesItaly

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