Robotic applications hold great promise for improving clinical outcomes and reducing complications of surgery. To date, however, there have been few widespread applications of robotic technology in neurosurgery. The authors hypothesized that image-guided robotic placement of a ventriculostomy catheter is safe, highly accurate, and highly reproducible.
Sixteen patients requiring catheter ventriculostomy for ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt or reservoir placement were included in this retrospective study. All patients underwent image-guided robotic placement of a ventricular catheter, using a preoperatively defined trajectory.
All catheters were placed successfully in a single pass. There were no catheter-related hemorrhages and no injuries to adjacent neural structures. The mean distance of the catheter tip from the target was 1.5 mm. The mean operative times were 112 minutes for VP shunt placement and 42.3 minutes for reservoir placement. The mean operative times decreased over the course of the study by 49% for VP shunts and by 19% for reservoir placement.
The robotic placement of a ventriculostomy catheter using a preplanned trajectory is safe, highly accurate, and highly reliable. This makes single-pass ventriculostomy possible in all patients, even in those with very small ventricles, and may permit catheter-based therapies in patients who would otherwise be deemed poor surgical candidates because of ventricle size. Robotic placement also permits careful preoperative study and optimization of the catheter trajectory, which may help minimize the risks to bridging veins and sulcal vessels.