Feasibility of robot-assisted neuroendovascular procedures

J Neurosurg. 2021 Sep 24;136(4):992-1004. doi: 10.3171/2021.1.JNS203617. Print 2022 Apr 1.


Objective: Geographic factors prevent equitable access to urgent advanced neuroendovascular treatments. Robotic technologies may enable remote endovascular procedures in the future. The authors performed a translational, benchtop-to-clinical study to evaluate the in vitro and clinical feasibility of the CorPath GRX Robotic System for robot-assisted endovascular neurointerventional procedures.

Methods: A series of bench studies was conducted using patient-specific 3D-printed models to test the system's compatibility with standard neurointerventional devices, including microcatheters, microwires, coils, intrasaccular devices, and stents. Optimal baseline setups for various procedures were determined. The models were further used to rehearse clinical cases. Subsequent to these investigations, a prospective series of 6 patients was treated using robotic assistance for complex, wide-necked intracranial saccular aneurysms between November 2019 and February 2020. The technical success, incidence of periprocedural complications, and need for conversion to manual procedures were evaluated.

Results: The ideal robotic setup for treatment of both anterior and posterior circulation aneurysms was determined to consist of an 80-cm guide catheter with a 115-cm-long intermediate catheter, a microcatheter between 150 and 170 cm in length, and a microwire with a minimum length of 300 cm. All coils, intrasaccular devices, and stents tested were compatible with the system and could be advanced or retracted safely and placed accurately. All 6 clinical procedures were technically successful, with all intracranial steps being performed robotically with no conversions to manual intervention or failures of the robotic system. There were no procedure-related complications or adverse clinical outcomes.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates the feasibility of robot-assisted neurointerventional procedures. The authors' results represent an important step toward enabling remote neuroendovascular care and geographic equalization of advanced endovascular treatments through so-called telestroke intervention.

Keywords: aneurysm; neurointervention; robotics; stroke; telemedicine; vascular disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Endovascular Procedures* / methods
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm* / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures* / methods
  • Robotics*
  • Stents
  • Treatment Outcome