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Brain surgery robots developed by China, Japan

BEIJING - "Chinese and Japanese researchers have jointly developed a robotic system which will likely improve the success rate of surgical brain vascular intervention.

The research team has completed the process of testing the system on animals, proving its feasibility and efficiency during vascular intervention surgery (VIS) to treat cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, said Professor Wang Tianmiao with the Robotics Institute from Beihang University.

The system is composed of a master controller, a terminal and a screen with an image navigation system.

Doctors operate from the master controller, with the three-dimensional blood vessel image on the screen, and transmit movement to the robotic terminal, capable of inserting a tube into a blood vessel. Sensors are installed on the tube, transmitting contact information between the tube and the vessel wall so as to ensure the accuracy of the insertion, which significantly improves the effect of the intervention.

Initiated in 2009, the system was co-developed by Japan-based Kagawa University, the Beijing-based PLA Navy General Hospital (NGH) and Beihang University.

Prof. Tian Zengmin, director of the Neurosurgery Department of the NGH, said the system allows doctors to perform vascular intervention operations accurately and eliminates their risk of radiation exposure.

Tian said the project had cost the three parties nearly 20 million yuan (USD 3.17 million), mostly from the two countries' government scientific research funds, and that the system can be put into application within one year if research goes smoothly.

During the tests on animals, the remote control function allowed surgery to be carried out by Kagawa on subjects in Beijing.

Prof. Guo Shuxiang with the Kagawa University said the system also helped with communication between doctors from different places and training young doctors, as remote control allowed more people outside the surgery room to monitor the surgery process."

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