• MRI;
  • robotic assistance;
  • prostate;
  • biopsy


  • To study the feasibility and safety of using a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-safe robot for assisting MRI-guided transrectal needle placement and biopsy in the prostate, using a canine model.
  • To determine the accuracy and precision afforded by the use of the robot while targeting a desired location in the organ.

Materials and Methods

  • In a study approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, six healthy adult male beagles with prostates of at least 15 × 15 mm in size at the largest transverse section were chosen for the procedure.
  • The probe portion of the robot was placed into the rectum of the dog, images were acquired and image-to-robot registration was performed. Images acquired after placement of the robot were reviewed and a radiologist selected targets for needle placement in the gland.
  • Depending on the size of the prostate, up to a maximum of six needle placements were performed on each dog. After needle placement, robot-assisted core biopsies were performed on four dogs that had larger prostate volumes and extracted cores were analysed for potential diagnostic value.


  • Robot-assisted MRI-guided needle placements were performed to target a total of 30 locations in six dogs, achieving a targeting accuracy of 2.58 mm (mean) and precision of 1.31 mm (sd).
  • All needle placements were successfully completed on the first attempt. The mean time required to select a desired target location in the prostate, align the needle guide to that point, insert the needle and perform the biopsy was ∼ 3 min. For this targeting accuracy study, the inserted needle was also imaged after its placement in the prostate, which took an additional 6–8 min.
  • Signal-to-noise ratio analysis indicated that the presence of the robot within the scanner bore had minimal impact on the quality of the images acquired.
  • Analysis of intact biopsy core samples indicated that the samples contained prostatic tissues, appropriate for making a potential diagnosis.
  • Dogs used in the study did not experience device- or procedure-related complications.


  • Results from this preclinical pilot animal study suggest that MRI-targeted transrectal biopsies are feasible to perform and this procedure may be safely assisted by an MRI-safe robotic device.