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Robotic biopsy system could increase diagnostic accuracy

Breast biopsies for people in Oklahoma and elsewhere may become more accurate if the use of a 3D-printed robot becomes widespread. Developed in the Netherlands, the Stormram 4 system works like biopsy procedures currently used but is more accurate. It has more control of the biopsy needle and is precise to the submillimeter level on models of breasts.

The current system uses a thick needle to extract tissue for a breast cancer biopsy. The Stormram 4 can perform the procedure within the MRI. This differs from other robotics systems that are too metallic to be used inside an MRI. It is also quicker than the conventional method for doing a biopsy.

The robot is several years away from use as it needs more testing and regulatory approval. Several other robots to be used in conjunction with MRIs are also in development. For example, one kind will do lead placement during surgery for Parkinson's disease patients while another will do brachytherapy seed implantation for people with prostate cancer. All of these tools are expected to lead to improvements in treatments.

While medical professionals will sometimes make errors in diagnosis and treatment due to the limits of knowledge and technology, there is a recognition in cases of medical malpractice that some of those errors are unacceptable. A person who is harmed in the case of a medical error may want to talk to an attorney about the situation. One of the standards for determining medical malpractice is assessing whether the person received a reasonable standard of care. For example, if a medical professional misread the results of a breast biopsy or if the procedure was performed carelessly, leading to a misdiagnosis, this might constitute medical malpractice. A person might file a lawsuit against the medical professional or facility responsible for the error.

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