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Robotic system for breast biopsies is in development

Because of human error and the inadequacies of current surgical technology, breast biopsies can provide inaccurate results. Illinois women who have a high risk of developing breast cancer may be interested to know that a 3D-printed robotic system that is being developed can transform how biopsies are conducted and can increase the accuracy of the procedures and breast cancer diagnoses. The research that is producing this new technology could affect medical laboratories and surgical pathology around the world.

The robotic system, Stormram 4, is being developed by researchers in the Netherlands. Surgeons would use the system to excise biological specimens while conducting an MRI scan, similar to the existing biopsy procedures. However, the robotic system, which uses one, thin biopsy needle, will provide sub-millimeter precision that can target on the lesion inside the breast tissue on the first try. The time it takes to conduct a biopsy using the system is significantly shorter than the time for the existing procedure and allows MRI scanner technology to be used more efficiently.

In contrast, MRI-guided breast biopsy tests that are performed manually can take a long time and can be ineffective. The manual procedure requires the use of thick needle and often requires multiple tries to extract large tissue specimens to obtain a sufficient biopsy sample. There were several failed attempts before the Stromram version that would be able to fit inside an MRI was created. The robot is controlled with long air pipes that are manipulated from the outside of the MRI scanner to avoid compromising the scan results.

The failure to diagnose breast cancer in a timely fashion can cause significant harm to a patient. Women whose conditions have worsened because of such a failure might want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney to discuss their options.