Robotically Assisted Nerve and Facet Blocks
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RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES: This study was performed to evaluate the feasibility of using a joystick-controlled robotic needle driver to place a 22-gauge needle for nerve and facet blocks. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Biplane fluoroscopy and a robotic needle driver were used to place 12 needles into the lumbar paraspinal region of an embalmed female cadaver (age at death, 98 years). Small metal BB nipple markers (1 mm in diameter) were inserted percutaneously to serve as targets. Six needles were then placed near the nerve root, and six were placed near the facet root. Anteroposterior and lateral radiographs were obtained after each needle placement to assess its accuracy. RESULTS: All needles were placed within 3 mm of the target BB. The average distance was 1.44 mm +/- 0.66 (standard deviation). DISCUSSION: A robotic needle driver can be used to place needles accurately in the nerve and facet regions. Clinical studies are required to investigate the advantages and disadvantages of this system for interventional procedures involving needles.
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