Spontaneous supratentorial intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) occurs in H2 million people worldwide every year and represents a major global public-health problem. ICH is associated with a 30-day mortality rate of 32-50%, and 6 month functional independence is achieved in only 20-25% of individuals who survive such hemorrhages. It is widely accepted that removal of the blood clot should be an important goal of early management of patients with ICH, but despite theoretical benefits, classic craniotomy for ICH removal remains controversial, because clear evidence of efficacy is lacking. Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) causes minimal trauma to brain tissues and significantly improves the number of functionally independent patients at 90 days. However, this apparent benefit is largely negated by high rates of rebleeding. Current technologies to remove ICH have serious limitations. All currently available methods of MIS for ICH evacuation employ line-of-sight, rigid tubes. Because of this, they generally rely on enzymatic thrombolytic agents [e.g., urokinase or tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA)] introduced into the clot to liquefy it, prior to irrigating itout. There are two important limitations with enzymatic thrombolysis. First, it is very slow, requiring multiple injections of thrombolytic agents and more than 24 hours to reduce ICH volume. Therefore, the potential benefit of rapidly reducing intracranial pressure, which can be lifesaving is completely lost. In addition, enzymatic thrombolysis can be dangerous, since there is no control over where the thrombolytic agent diffuses and thus re-hemorrhage rates are unacceptably high. There is a clear and urgent need to develop an alternative technology for evacuation of ICH without increasing the risk of rebleeding. We envision a Neurosurgical Intracerebral Hemorrhage Evacuation (NICHE) robot for ICH removal that will be: a) compatible with the imaging modality, b) 6 mm in diameter and about 20 cm long to allow deployment into a deep ICH in the basal ganglia or thalamus via non-eloquent frontal lobe cortex rostral to the coronal suture, c) discretely actuated with multiple degrees-of-freedom (DOFs) and the tip link of the robot having the capability to bend into a "J-shape" to allow ICH removal outside of the line-of-sight trajectory and additional joints to allow positioning the tip link within the ICH, d) equipped with suction and irrigation lines running through its hollow core and have bipolar electrocautery probes to liquefy the ICH, and e) under the immediate and direct guidance of the neurosurgeon at all times. To realize the NICHE robot, we will address three specific aims: 1) Design and develop a multi-joint discretely actuated and steerable NICHE robot with bipolar electrocautery probes and a suction and irrigation channel for electrocauterizing the ICH, 2) Develop an intra-operative imaging algorithm for precise, real-time tracking of robotic cannula and to monitor the progress of ICH evacuation using low radiation dose cone-beam CT, and 3) Demonstrate the safety and efficacy of NICHE robot in clinically relevant models of ICH.

Public Health Relevance

Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) occurs in H2 million people worldwide every year and represents a major global public-health problem. Despite important advancements in the management of ICH, current surgical technologies are inadequate and are associated with unacceptably high re-hemorrhage rates. We envision designing, developing, and demonstrating the safety and efficacy of a Neurosurgical Intracerebral Hemorrhage Evacuation (NICHE) robot that is compatible with the imaging modality and has the ability to evacuate ICH by having the ability to operate out of the line-of-sight.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (BNVT)
Program Officer
Krosnick, Steven
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Maryland College Park
Engineering (All Types)
Schools of Engineering
College Park
United States
Zip Code