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  • Writer's pictureJohn Koivukangas

Surgical Robot Project

Working for years with engineers, my final academic medtech project: a surgical robot that could operate in our intraoperative MRI suite, Department of Neurosurgery, Oulu University Hospital, Finland.

In August 2009 a biopsy needle guide was attached to the end piece and the robot was then programmed to repeat, in the magnetic field, a series of non-collision steps to position the guide correctly. The needle was then passed by hand to a vitamin capsule inside a melon, as verified by our navigator.

We planned a clinical version within three years. It was not to be. I left my clinical position as chief neurosurgeon in 2010 to help my wife Pirjo recover from spinal cord injury.

However, the Montpellier company from France, Medtech, did offer our department their ROSA Locator robot only two years later giving credence to our optimistic plans.

My academic medicine career 1980-2014 centered on surgical visualization of brain for minimally invasive neurosurgery, including the technology for both imaging and for surgical procedures to improve our results, while we all waited for the cures of molecular biology, hopeful that someday they will replace some of the strides my generation made.


Heikkilä T, Yrjänä S, Kilpeläinen P, Koivukangas J, Sallinen M (2012) An assistive surgical MRI compatible robot: First prototype with field tests (Chapter 19). In: Explicative Cases of Controversial Issues in Neurosurgery. F. Signorelli (ed.) INTECH open access, published May 23, 2012 under CC BY 3.0 license. ISBN 978-953-51-0623-4. DOI: 10.5772/29557

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