The intelligent arm-support system, iArmS, which follows the surgeon’s arm and automatically fixes it at an adequate position, was developed as an operation support robot. iArmS was designed to support the surgeon’s forearm to prevent hand trembling and to alleviate fatigue during surgery with a microscope. In this study, the authors report on application of this robotic device to endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery (ETSS) and evaluate their initial experiences.
The study population consisted of 43 patients: 29 with pituitary adenoma, 3 with meningioma, 3 with Rathke’s cleft cyst, 2 with craniopharyngioma, 2 with chordoma, and 4 with other conditions. All patients underwent surgery via the endonasal transsphenoidal approach using a rigid endoscope. During the nasal and sphenoid phases, iArmS was used to support the surgeon’s nondominant arm, which held the endoscope. The details of the iArmS and clinical results were collected.
Results iArmS followed the surgeon’s arm movement automatically. It reduced the surgeon’s fatigue and stabilized the surgeon’s hand during ETSS. Shaking of the video image decreased due to the steadying of the surgeon’s scope-holding hand with iArmS. There were no complications related to use of the device.
The intelligent armrest, iArmS, seems to be safe and effective during ETSS. iArmS is helpful for improving the precision and safety not only for microscopic neurosurgery, but also for ETSS. Ongoing advances in robotics ensure the continued evolution of neurosurgery.