Human robotic surgery with intraoperative tissue identification using rapid evaporation ionisation mass spectrometry

Sci Rep. 2024 Jan 10;14(1):1027. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-50942-3.


Instantaneous, continuous, and reliable information on the molecular biology of surgical target tissue could significantly contribute to the precision, safety, and speed of the intervention. In this work, we introduced a methodology for chemical tissue identification in robotic surgery using rapid evaporative ionisation mass spectrometry. We developed a surgical aerosol evacuation system that is compatible with a robotic platform enabling consistent intraoperative sample collection and assessed the feasibility of this platform during head and neck surgical cases, using two different surgical energy devices. Our data showed specific, characteristic lipid profiles associated with the tissue type including various ceramides, glycerophospholipids, and glycerolipids, as well as different ion formation mechanisms based on the energy device used. This platform allows continuous and accurate intraoperative mass spectrometry-based identification of ablated/resected tissue and in combination with robotic registration of images, time, and anatomical positions can improve the current robot-assisted surgical platforms and guide surgical strategy.

MeSH terms

  • Ceramides
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Physical Phenomena
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures*
  • Robotics*


  • Ceramides