MIT Made a Robot for Emergency Stroke Surgeries

The telerobotic system uses a magnet to guide a wire through the vessels of a patient’s brain to remotely remove blood clots.

A recent Engadget article discussed an innovative new device created by MIT researchers to assist in emergency stroke procedures. Over the past few years, the team has been developing a telerobotic system that surgeons can use remotely for endovascular treatments for stroke patients. The device consists of a robotic arm with a magnet attached to the wrist. Surgeons use a modified joystick to adjust its orientation to maneuver a magnetic wire through the patient’s arteries and vessels to remove blood clots in their brains.

The process is similar to other in-person procedures in which doctors rely on live imaging to navigate to the blood clot, but this new machine allows them to treat patients while not physically in the room with them. This is crucial because there is a small window of time after a stroke’s onset during which endovascular treatment can be administered to preserve brain function and save the patient’s life. 

Xuanhe Zhao, MIT professor and team member said, “We imagine, instead of transporting a patient from a rural area to a large city, they could go to a local hospital where nurses could set up this system. A neurosurgeon at a major medical center could watch live imaging of the patient and use the robot to operate in that golden hour. That’s our future dream."

A video with more info can be seen here

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