India’s first Spine Surgery Robot built by IIT Madras

Researchers at IIT Madras have built India’s first ‘Spine Surgery Robot’ that makes open spine surgery less painful and affordable for patients. The robot uses a conventional image-guided robotic system for its operation. Unlike other open surgeries, it is a minimally invasive operation that does not require a big body cut. The robot also reduces the duration of the procedure, the hospital stay, and the patient’s recovery time.

“Minimally invasive spinal surgery produces superior results compared to open spinal surgery (needs expertise) with faster recovery time, lower infections and better outcomes,” said Professor Mohanasankar Sivaprakasam, who is in charge of this project. He added that the robot would increase the safety of the procedure and also reduce the exposure of the surgeon to radiation. For intraoperative guidance, an external position tracker will be provided to independently track the positioning of the tool and the robot position on an urgent basis.

The calibration step will be performed for the external tracker to align the world coordinates with the 3D model and the robot coordinates. Once calibrated, every movement of the tracker can be extrapolated to the 3D model and the surgery plan. The system will have a rigid and high impact-withstanding the end effector or the grip to position different tools and instruments to perform the surgery.

The Ministry of Human Resource Development funds the project under the development of Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana (UAY). The technology will reach the world at the TechEX event at IIT Delhi. It’s not the first time robots have been used to perform surgery. However, this is the very first surgery robot to be created in India to work on the spine.