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Alessandro De Benedictis, Andrea Trezza, Andrea Carai, Elisabetta Genovese, Emidio Procaccini, Raffaella Messina, Franco Randi, Silvia Cossu, Giacomo Esposito, Paolo Palma, Paolina Amante, Michele Rizzi and Carlo Efisio Marras

OBJECTIVE

During the last 3 decades, robotic technology has rapidly spread across several surgical fields due to the continuous evolution of its versatility, stability, dexterity, and haptic properties. Neurosurgery pioneered the development of robotics, with the aim of improving the quality of several procedures requiring a high degree of accuracy and safety. Moreover, robot-guided approaches are of special interest in pediatric patients, who often have altered anatomy and challenging relationships between the diseased and eloquent structures. Nevertheless, the use of robots has been rarely reported in children. In this work, the authors describe their experience using the ROSA device (Robotized Stereotactic Assistant) in the neurosurgical management of a pediatric population.

METHODS

Between 2011 and 2016, 116 children underwent ROSA-assisted procedures for a variety of diseases (epilepsy, brain tumors, intra- or extraventricular and tumor cysts, obstructive hydrocephalus, and movement and behavioral disorders). Each patient received accurate preoperative planning of optimal trajectories, intraoperative frameless registration, surgical treatment using specific instruments held by the robotic arm, and postoperative CT or MR imaging.

RESULTS

The authors performed 128 consecutive surgeries, including implantation of 386 electrodes for stereo-electroencephalography (36 procedures), neuroendoscopy (42 procedures), stereotactic biopsy (26 procedures), pallidotomy (12 procedures), shunt placement (6 procedures), deep brain stimulation procedures (3 procedures), and stereotactic cyst aspiration (3 procedures). For each procedure, the authors analyzed and discussed accuracy, timing, and complications.

CONCLUSIONS

To the best their knowledge, the authors present the largest reported series of pediatric neurosurgical cases assisted by robotic support. The ROSA system provided improved safety and feasibility of minimally invasive approaches, thus optimizing the surgical result, while minimizing postoperative morbidity.