COMP 329* Introduction to Computer-Integrated Surgery

Original Author: Gabor Fichtinger
Last Revised: May 9, 2013

Calendar Description

An introduction to concepts and novel technologies used in computer-integrated surgery, including image based navigation, medical robotics and virtual reality. Concepts and techniques learned in class will be applied in a hands-on surgery session where students perform minimally invasive surgery with virtual-reality navigation tools. Enrolment is limited.

Prerequisites At least one 4U Mathematics course or MATH-P06/3.0. Computing students should take CISC-330/3.0.

Exclusions COMP-230*, CISC-330*.


This course is designed to introduce the concepts and underlying technologies of computer-integrated surgery (CIS) systems. Students who like thinking critically and are interested in the cross section of engineering and medicine will enjoy this course. Students will learn to ask questions and look for answers the way medical engineers study and build CIS systems. Computer-integrated surgery is a field in the intersection of computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, life sciences, and medicine. Even the simplest real-life problems involve these disciplines to an almost equal degree. The courses will emphasize multi-disciplinary concepts and systems introduced through a series of novel clinical applications that are currently in use or under development at various institutions, including Queen's University.

There will be a hands-on surgery session allowing students to practice on an artificial subject made of non bio-hazardous materials. Surgeries will entail image-guided minimally invasive percutaneous (through-the-skin) interventions, such as image-guided joint arthrography, facet joint injections and nerve blocks. Students will work in teams of up to 10. The instructor, Dr. G. Fichtinger, will lead and supervise the surgery session. A teaching assistant will help with transportation and setup of the equipment and supervising the students. All image data necessary for the surgery session will be acquired prior to the session. Plans are being considered to create an undergraduate computer-assisted surgery classroom. Until then, however, Dr. Fichtinger's research lab in Goodwin Hall will host the students in small groups. Depending on the number of students in the class, there will be several sessions to choose from.

The main difference between this course and CISC-330/3.0 is that the assignments will be simpler.


  1. Methods and Technologies

  2. Clinical Applications

  3. Hands-on Surgery Session

Selected References