Published for the Institution by Mechanical Engineering Publications Ltd.
Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers H, Journal of Engineering in Medicine vol:219 issue:3 pages:163-174
Bone cutting in total joint reconstructions requires a high accuracy to obtain a well-functioning and long-lasting prosthesis. Hence robot assistance can be useful to increase the precision of the surgical actions. A drawback of current robot systems is that they autonomously machine the bone, in that way ignoring the surgeon's experience and introducing a safety risk. This paper presents a semi-active milling procedure to overcome that drawback. In this procedure the surgeon controls robot motion by exerting forces on a force-controlled lever that is attached to the robot end effector. Meanwhile the robot constrains tool motion to the planned motion and generates a tool feed determined by the feed force that the surgeon executes. As a case study the presented milling procedure has been implemented on a laboratory set-up for robot-assisted preparation of the acetabulum in total hip arthroplasty. Two machining methods have been considered. In the first method the surgeon determines both milling trajectory and feed by the forces that he/she executes on the force-controlled lever. In the second method the cavity is machined contour by contour, and the surgeon only provides the feed. Machining experiments have shown that the first method results in large surface irregularities and is not useful. The second method, however, results in accurate cavity preparation and has therefore potential to be implemented in future robot systems.