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  • Author or Editor: Cesar A. Serrano x
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Shawna Pandya, Jason W. Motkoski, Cesar Serrano-Almeida, Alexander D. Greer, Isabelle Latour and Garnette R. Sutherland

Robotic systems are being introduced into surgery to extend human ability. NeuroArm represents a potential change in the way surgery is performed; this is the first image-guided, MR-compatible surgical robot capable of both microsurgery and stereotaxy. This paper presents the first surgical application of neuroArm in an investigation of microsurgical performance, navigation accuracy, and Phase I clinical studies.

To evaluate microsurgical performance, 2 surgeons performed microsurgery (splenectomy, bilateral nephrectomy, and thymectomy) in a rodent model using neuroArm and conventional techniques. Two senior residents served as controls, using the conventional technique only (8 rats were used in each of the 3 treatment groups; the 2 surgeons each treated 4 rats from each group). Total surgery time, blood loss, thermal injury, vascular injury, and animal death due to surgical error were recorded and converted to an overall performance score. All values are reported as the mean ± SEM when normally distributed and as the median and interquartile range when not. Surgeons were slower using neuroArm (1047 ± 69 seconds) than with conventional microsurgical techniques (814 ± 54 seconds; p = 0.019), but overall performance was equal (neuroArm: 1110 ± 82 seconds; microsurgery: 1075 ± 136 seconds; p = 0.825). Using microsurgery, the surgeons had overall performance scores equal to those of the control resident surgeons (p = 0.141).

To evaluate navigation accuracy, the localization error of neuroArm was compared with an established system. Nanoparticles were implanted at predetermined bilateral targets in a cadaveric model (4 specimens) using image guidance. The mean localization error of neuroArm (4.35 ± 1.68 mm) proved equal to that of the conventional navigation system (10.4 ± 2.79 mm; p = 0.104). Using the conventional system, the surgeon was forced to retract the biopsy tool to correct the angle of entry in 2 of 4 trials.

To evaluate Phase I clinical integration, the role of neuroArm was progressively increased in 5 neurosurgical procedures. The impacts of neuroArm on operating room (OR) staff, hardware, software, and registration system performance were evaluated. NeuroArm was well received by OR staff and progressively integrated into patient cases, starting with draping in Case 1. In Case 2 and all subsequent cases, the robot was registered. It was used for tumor resection in Cases 3–5. Three incidents involving restrictive cable length, constrictive draping, and reregistration failure were resolved. In Case 5, the neuroArm safety system successfully mitigated a hardware failure.

NeuroArm performs as well and as accurately as conventional techniques, with demonstrated safety technology. Clinical integration was well received by OR staff, and successful tumor resection validates the surgical applicability of neuroArm.

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C. Corbett Wilkinson, Nicholas V. Stence, Cesar A. Serrano, Sarah J. Graber, Lígia Batista-Silverman, Emily Schmidt-Beuchat and Brooke M. French


Recently, the authors investigated the normal course of fusion of minor lateral calvarial sutures on “3D” volume-rendered head CT reconstructions in pediatric trauma patients. While evaluating these reconstructions, they found many more fused sagittal sutures than expected given the currently accepted prevalence of sagittal craniosynostosis. In the present study, using the same set of head CT reconstructions, they investigated the course of fusion of the sagittal as well as the lambdoid, coronal, and metopic sutures.


They reviewed all volume-rendered head CT reconstructions performed in the period from 2010 through mid-2012 at Children’s Hospital Colorado for trauma patients aged 0–21 years. Each sagittal, lambdoid, coronal, or metopic suture was graded as open, partially fused, or fused. The cephalic index (CI) was calculated for subjects with fused and partially fused sagittal sutures.


After exclusions, 331 scans were reviewed. Twenty-one subjects (6%) had fusion or partial fusion of the sagittal suture. Four of the 21 also had fusion of the medial lambdoid and/or coronal sutures. In the 17 subjects (5%) with sagittal suture fusion and no medial fusion of adjacent sutures, the mean CI was 77.6. None of the 21 subjects had been previously diagnosed with craniosynostosis. Other than in the 21 subjects already mentioned, no other sagittal or lambdoid sutures were fused at all. Nor were other coronal sutures fused medially. Coronal sutures were commonly fused inferiorly early during the 2nd decade of life, and fusion progressed superiorly and medially as subjects became older; none were completely fused by 18 years of age. Fusion of the metopic suture was first seen at 3 months of life; fusion was often not complete until after 2 years.


The sagittal and lambdoid sutures do not usually begin to fuse before 18 years of age. However, more sagittal sutures are fused before age 18 than expected given the currently accepted prevalence of craniosynostosis. This finding is of unknown significance, but likely many of them do not need surgery. The coronal suture often begins to fuse inferiorly early in the 2nd decade of life but does not usually complete fusion before 18 years of age. The metopic suture often starts to fuse by 3 months of age, but it may not completely fuse until after 2 years of age.

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Oral Presentations

2010 AANS Annual Meeting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 1–5, 2010