Enabling technologies for MRI guided interventional procedures
Fischer, Gregory Scott
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This dissertation addresses topics related to developing interventional assistant devices for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). MRI can provide high-quality 3D visualization of target anatomy and surrounding tissue, but the benefits can not be readily harnessed for interventional procedures due to difficulties associated with the use of high-field (1.5T or greater) MRI. Discussed are potential solutions to the inability to use conventional mecha- tronics and the confined physical space in the scanner bore. This work describes the development of two apparently dissimilar systems that repre- sent different approaches to the same surgical problem - coupling information and action to perform percutaneous (through the skin) needle placement with MR imaging. The first system addressed takes MR images and projects them along with a surgical plan directly on the interventional site, thus providing in-situ imaging. With anatomical images and a corresponding plan visible in the appropriate pose, the clinician can use this information to perform the surgical action. My primary research effort has focused on a robotic assistant system that overcomes the difficulties inherent to MR-guided procedures, and promises safe and reliable intra-prostatic needle placement inside closed high-field MRI scanners. The robot is a servo pneumatically operated automatic needle guide, and effectively guides needles under real- time MR imaging. This thesis describes development of the robotic system including requirements, workspace analysis, mechanism design and optimization, and evaluation of MR compatibility. Further, a generally applicable MR-compatible robot controller is de- veloped, the pneumatic control system is implemented and evaluated, and the system is deployed in pre-clinical trials. The dissertation concludes with future work and lessons learned from this endeavor.