NeuroArm: Navigating the future of surgery

Surgery is about to change with the introduction of a new surgical robotic system at the University of Calgary/Calgary Health Region. NeuroArm aims to revolutionize neurosurgery and other branches of operative medicine by liberating them from the constraints of the human hand.

The world's first MRI-compatible surgical robot, unveiled today, is the creation of neurosurgeon Dr. Garnette Sutherland and his team. Dr. Sutherland has spent the last six years leading a team of Canadian scientists, in cooperation with MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA), to design a machine "that represents a milestone in medical technology."

"Many of our microsurgical techniques evolved in the 1960s, and have pushed surgeons to the limits of their precision, accuracy, dexterity and stamina," says Dr. Sutherland, professor of neurosurgery, University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine and the Calgary Health Region. "NeuroArm dramatically enhances the spatial resolution at which surgeons operate, and shifts surgery from the organ towards the cell level."

Designed to be controlled by a surgeon from a computer workstation, neuroArm operates in conjunction with real-time MR imaging, providing surgeons unprecedented detail and control, enabling them to manipulate tools at a microscopic scale. Advanced surgical testing of neuroArm is currently underway, followed by the first patient, anticipated for this summer.

"The launch of neuroArm places the U of C and the Calgary Health Region at the forefront of the emerging field of biomedical engineering, and establishes Canada's leadership role in image-guided robotic surgery," says U of C President Harvey Weingarten, PhD.

"The Calgary Health Region considers the introduction of the neuroArm an historic moment in our ability to provide unprecedented care and safety to patients in Alberta," says the Calgary Health Region's Chief Executive Officer and President Jack Davis. "We are extremely prou

Contact: Grady Semmens
University of Calgary

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