Robot-guided open-loop insertion of skew-line needle arrangements for high dose rate brachytherapy

Animesh Garg, Timmy Siauw, Dmitry Berenson, J. Adam M. Cunha, I. Chow Hsu, Jean Pouliot, Dan Stoianovici, Ken Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We present a study in human-centered automation that has potential to reduce patient side effects from high dose rate brachytherapy (HDR-BT). To efficiently deliver radiation to the prostate while minimizing trauma to sensitive structures such as the penile bulb, we modified the Acubot-RND 7-axis robot to guide insertion of diamond-tip needles into desired skew-line geometric arrangements. We extend and integrate two algorithms: Needle Planning with Integer Programming (NPIP) and Inverse Planning with Integer Programming (IPIP) to compute skew-line needle and dose plans. We performed three physical experiments with anatomically correct phantom models to study performance: two with the robot and one control experiment with an expert human physician (coauthor Hsu) without the robot. All were able to achieve needle arrangements that meet the RTOG-0321 clinical dose objectives with zero trauma to the penile bulb. We analyze systematic and random errors in needle placement; total RMS error for the robot system operating without feedback ranged from 2.6 to 4.3 mm, which is comparable to the RMS error of 2.7 mm obtained in an earlier study for PPI-BT treatment using a robot with 3D ultrasound feedback.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6579776
Pages (from-to)948-956
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013


  • Brachytherapy
  • health care
  • needle insertion
  • prostate cancer
  • radiation
  • robot
  • robot assisted surgery
  • steerable needles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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