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The Click-On gamma probe, a second-generation tethered robotic gamma probe that improves dexterity and surgical decision-making

By 12 December 2021No Comments

Samaneh Azargoshasb, Simon van Alphen, Leon J Slof, Giuseppe Rosiello, Stefano Puliatti, Sven I van Leeuwen, Krijn M Houwing, Michael Boonekamp, Jeroen Verhart, Paolo Dell’Oglio, Jos van der Hage, Matthias N van Oosterom, Fijs W B van Leeuwen


Purpose: Decision-making and dexterity, features that become increasingly relevant in (robot-assisted) minimally invasive surgery, are considered key components in improving the surgical accuracy. Recently, DROP-IN gamma probes were introduced to facilitate radioguided robotic surgery. We now studied if robotic DROP-IN radioguidance can be further improved using tethered Click-On designs that integrate gamma detection onto the robotic instruments themselves.

Methods: Using computer-assisted drawing software, 3D printing and precision machining, we created a Click-On probe containing two press-fit connections and an additional grasping moiety for a ProGrasp instrument combined with fiducials that could be video tracked using the Firefly laparoscope. Using a dexterity phantom, the duration of the specific tasks and the path traveled could be compared between use of the Click-On or DROP-IN probe. To study the impact on surgical decision-making, we performed a blinded study, in porcine models, wherein surgeons had to identify a hidden 57Co-source using either palpation or Click-On radioguidance.

Results: When assembled onto a ProGrasp instrument, while preserving grasping function and rotational freedom, the fully functional prototype could be inserted through a 12-mm trocar. In dexterity assessments, the Click-On provided a 40% reduction in movements compared to the DROP-IN, which converted into a reduction in time, path length, and increase in straightness index. Radioguidance also improved decision-making; task-completion rate increased by 60%, procedural time was reduced, and movements became more focused.

Conclusion: The Click-On gamma probe provides a step toward full integration of radioguidance in minimal invasive surgery. The value of this concept was underlined by its impact on surgical dexterity and decision-making.

Keywords: Image-guided surgery; Performance assessment; Precision surgery; Radioguided surgery; Robotic surgery; Surgical training.

© 2021. The Author(s).

Conflict of interest statement

During this research, G.R., S.P., and F.v.L. were (partially) affiliated with ORSI Academy. The authors declare that they have no further conflicts of interest.


Stefano Puliatti

Stefano Puliatti

Il Dr. Puliatti si è laureato in Medicina e chirurgia nel 2012 presso l’Università degli Studi di Modena ed ha poi conseguito il titolo di specialista in Urologia con il massimo dei voti presso lo stesso Ateneo. Da Luglio 2019 ricopre il ruolo di Assistant Professor in Urologia presso l'Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia. Da Luglio 2019 ricopre anche il ruolo di Deputy Medical Director of ORSI Academy, Melle, Belgio e svolge attività clinica e chirurgica presso OLV (Onze Lieve Vrouwziekenhuis) Hospital in Aalst, Belgio (direttore: Prof. Alex Mottrie). La sua formazione si è incentrata in particolare sulla Chirurgia robotica e oncologica delle vie urinarie, avendo come principali campi di applicazione anche tumori e malattie della prostata, tumori del rene e delle alte vie urinarie, disturbi minzionali, calcolosi delle vie urinarie. È inoltre autore e coautore di articoli scientifici e capitoli di libro in ambito urologico. Attualmente svolge attività in libera professione presso diverse strutture situate a Modena e Provincia.