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MRI-guided robot may provide more accurate biopsies

Due to limited technology and the possibility of human error, biopsies for breast cancer are not always accurate. They are also known for being time consuming. This is a problem since the American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations claims that cancer surgeons perform more than 1.7 million breast biopsies every year throughout Iowa and the rest of the U.S.

However, researchers in the Netherlands are in the final stages of developing a medical robot, the smallest of its kind, that can retrieve biopsy samples in the MRI scanner itself. Named the Stormram 4, the robot is made from 3D-printed plastic and can handle a single thin biopsy needle with sub-millimeter precision control.

In the manual procedure, the surgeon must use a thick needle and insert it multiple times before it can extract a sufficient tissue sample. The Stormram 4, however, can hit the target coordinate on the first attempt. Since it can do so during the MRI itself, doctors can follow the needle in nearly real-time imaging. By shortening the procedure, it will allow MRI scanner facilities to make the most effective use of their time.

Still, the Stormram 4 will likely not receive regulatory approval until more trials are undergone. A similar robot is being developed by Worcester Polytechnic Institute that may change the way Parkinson's disease and prostate cancer are treated.

Cancer misdiagnoses are still common in the medical field, and they constitute one form of medical malpractice. When an individual discovers late-stage cancer and realizes that their doctor failed to diagnose it, they may consult with a lawyer about filing a claim. If the patient dies, the family can file. A lawyer will most likely request a medical inquiry and determine if the doctor explicitly failed to comply with a set standard of care.

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