Robotic-assisted internal fixation of hip fractures: a fluoroscopy-based intraoperative registration technique

The internal fixation of proximal femoral (hip) fractures is the most frequently performed orthopaedic surgery procedure. When using a sliding compression hip screw, a commonly used fixation device, accurate positioning of the device within the femoral neck-head is achieved by initially drilling a pilot hole. A cannulated component of the hip screw is then inserted over the guide wire (surgical drill bit), which is used to drill the pilot hole. However, in practice, this fluoroscopically controlled drilling process is severely complicated by a depth perception problem and, as such, a surgeon can require several attempts to achieve a satisfactory guide wire placement. A prototype robotic-assisted orthopaedic surgery system has therefore been developed, with a view to achieving accurate right-first-time guide wire insertions. This paper describes the non-invasive digital X-ray photogrammetry-based registration technique which supports the proposed robotic-assisted drilling scenario. Results from preliminary laboratory (in vitro) trials employing this registration technique indicate that the cumulative error associated with the entire X-ray guided robotic system is within acceptable limits for the guide wire insertion process.