Fully Actuated Body-Mounted Robotic System for MRI-Guided Lower Back Pain Injections: Initial Phantom and Cadaver Studies

Gang Li, Niravkumar A. Patel, Yanzhou Wang, Charles Dumoulin, Wolfgang Loew, Olivia Loparo, Katherine Schneider, Karun Sharma, Kevin Cleary, Jan Fritz, Iulian Iordachita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This letter reports the improved design, system integration, and initial experimental evaluation of a fully actuated body-mounted robotic system for real-time MRI-guided lower back pain injections. The 6-DOF robot is composed of a 4-DOF needle alignment module and a 2-DOF remotely actuated needle driver module, which together provide a fully actuated manipulator that can operate inside the scanner bore during imaging. The system minimizes the need to move the patient in and out of the scanner during a procedure, and thus may shorten the procedure time and streamline the clinical workflow. The robot is devised with a compact and lightweight structure that can be attached directly to the patient's lower back via straps. This approach minimizes the effect of patient motion by allowing the robot to move with the patient. The robot is integrated with an image-based surgical planning module. A dedicated clinical workflow is proposed for robot-assisted lower back pain injections under real-time MRI guidance. Targeting accuracy of the system was evaluated with a real-time MRI-guided phantom study, demonstrating the mean absolute errors (MAE) of the tip position to be 1.50 \pm 0.68 mm and of the needle angle to be 1.56 \pm \; \text{0.93}^\circ. An initial cadaver study was performed to validate the feasibility of the clinical workflow, indicating the maximum error of the position to be less than 1.90 mm and of the angle to be less than 3.14 ^\circ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9134864
Pages (from-to)5245-5251
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • MRI-guided robot
  • body-mounted robot
  • lower back pain injection
  • robot-assisted intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Optimization
  • Artificial Intelligence


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