With computer-controlled flexible needles you can inject with great accuracy (on the sub-millimeter level) in biological tissues. That emerges from a doctoral research Momen Abayazid of UT's MIRA research institute of the University of Twente.
In many diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, a needle is inserted into soft tissue.Think for example of biopsies, or the insertion of radioactive seeds in order to combat prostate cancer. In many of these operations, the accuracy of the placement of the needle is very important. As a rule, using rigid needle having a relatively large diameter.Disadvantage is that it can only go straight, so you can avoid any obstacles along. Also, the tissue can deform during insertion of the needle, allowing the needle to aim fog.
Flexible needle with asymmetrical point
The University of Twente has a computer-controlled system designed for flexible needles with an asymmetric point that can be sent in the body in curves. Such a needle bends automatically when you insert it. By turning the needle, you are now able to bring this as a chosen path in three dimensions. Because the needle is controlled by a robot, and during the insertion in real-time is monitored - which makes it possible to gradually make adjustments in the route - it is possible to control the needle accurately at submillimeter level in biological tissue. In his dissertation developed Momen Abayazid doctoral research involved the developed robotic system and the control system that controls the needle and the needle 3D localization algorithm, which uses ultrasound images.
To promote acceptance in clinical practice and to combine the precision of the robotic system with clinical expertise, Abayazid also developed a system that gives the doctor more control. In this variant, the doctor inserts the needle into himself, but he gets hereby control signals from the robot system using vibrations and visual feedback.
The system allows, in principle, in the future, also possible that the needle is controlled by a doctor who is located somewhere other than the patient completely. The researchers are managed, for example to drive the needle in Enschede from the Italian Sienna.
Finally, the developed system has been integrated with a, based on ultrasound, breast-volume automatic scanner (ABVS). By combining the proposed system with a robotic, clinically approved, ABVS system, it is possible to bring robotic needle control from the research laboratory to the operating room.
Clinical studies in humans
According promotor prof. Dr. Sarthak Misra shows the examination of Abayazid that the system is technically ready for use in humans. Misra expects three to four years, the first clinical trials could start.