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Robotics and regional anesthesia

Wehbe, Mohamada; Giacalone, Marilub; Hemmerling, Thomas M.c

Current Opinion in Anaesthesiology: October 2014 - Volume 27 - Issue 5 - p 544–548
doi: 10.1097/ACO.0000000000000117
REGIONAL ANESTHESIA: Edited by Jacques E. Chelly

Purpose of review: Robots in regional anesthesia are used as a tool to automate the performance of regional techniques reducing the anesthesiologist's workload and improving patient care. The purpose of this review is to show the latest findings in robotic regional anesthesia.

Recent findings: The literature separates robots in anesthesia into two groups: pharmacological robots and manual robots. Pharmacological robots are mainly closed-loop systems that help in the titration of anesthetic drugs to patients undergoing surgery. Manual robots are mechanical robots that are used to support or replace the manual gestures performed by anesthesiologists. Although in the last decade researchers have focused on the development of decision support systems and closed-loop systems, more recent evidence supports the concept that robots can also be useful in performing regional anesthesia techniques.

Summary: Robots can improve the performance and safety in regional anesthesia. In this review, we present the developments made in robotic and automated regional anesthesia, and discuss the current state of research in this field.

aDivision of Experimental Surgery, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

bDepartment of Anesthesia, University Pisa, Pisa, Italy

cDepartment of Anesthesia, Division of Experimental Surgery & Arnold and Blema Steinberg Medical Simulation Centre, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Correspondence to Thomas M. Hemmerling, MD, DEAA, Montreal General Hospital, Room C10 - 153, 1650 Cedar Avenue, Montreal, QC, Canada H3G 1A4. Tel: +1 514 934 1934 ext 43677; e-mail:; website:

© 2014 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.