Robotic-assisted internal fixation of femoral fractures

Closed surgical techniques for the internal fixation of femoral fractures require orthopaedic surgeons to work in close proximity to X-rays. In addition to the occupational health risk this imposes, inexperienced surgeons often encounter great difficulty in achieving optimal positioning of fracture repair fixtures. A vision-guided robotic system has been proposed as a possible solution to these problems and an initial investigation involving two exemplar orthopaedic procedures has been undertaken. Robotic surgery assistance imposes rigorous safety-related design constraints, since the orthopaedic robot must operate in close proximity to the patient and operating staff. The design and implementation of a purpose-built robotic system for orthopaedic surgery assistance is described in this paper.