Towards a teleoperated needle driver robot with haptic feedback for RFA of breast tumors under continuous MRI

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The purpose of this paper is to explore the feasibility of developing a MRI-compatible needle driver system for radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of breast tumors under continuous MRI imaging while being teleoperated by a haptic feedback device from outside the scanning room. The developed needle driver prototype was designed and tested for both tumor targeting capability as well as RFA.


The single degree-of-freedom (DOF) prototype was interfaced with a PHANToM haptic device controlled from outside the scanning room. Experiments were performed to demonstrate MRI-compatibility and position control accuracy with hydraulic actuation, along with an experiment to determine the PHANToM's ability to guide the RFA tool to a tumor nodule within a phantom breast tissue model while continuously imaging within the MRI and receiving force feedback from the RFA tool.


Hydraulic actuation is shown to be a feasible actuation technique for operation in an MRI environment. The design is MRI-compatible in all aspects except for force sensing in the directions perpendicular to the direction of motion. Experiments confirm that the user is able to detect healthy vs. cancerous tissue in a phantom model when provided with both visual (imaging) feedback and haptic feedback.


The teleoperated 1-DOF needle driver system presented in this paper demonstrates the feasibility of implementing a MRI-compatible robot for RFA of breast tumors with haptic feedback capability.

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