Laser incision depth control in robot-assisted soft tissue microsurgery

Acemoglu A, Fichera L, Kepiro IE, Caldwell DG, Mattos LS, Journal of Medical Robotics Research (2017).


This paper presents the concept of a technology for the automation of laser incisions on soft tissue, especially for application in Transoral Laser Microsurgery (TLM) interventions. The technology aims at automatically controlling laser incisions based on high- level commands from the surgeon, i.e. desired incision shape, length and depth. It is based on a recently developed robotic laser microsurgery platform, which offers the controlled motion of the laser beam on the surgical site. A feed-forward controller provides (i) commands to the robotic laser aiming system and (ii) regulates the parameters of the laser source to achieve the desired results. The controller for the incision depth is extracted from experimental data. The required energy density and the number of passes are calculated to reach the targeted depth. Experimental results demonstrate that targeted depths can be achieved with 100”m accuracy, which proves the feasibility of this approach. The proposed technology has the potential to facilitate the surgeon’s control over laser incisions.