Spinal fusion is the surgical procedure of stiffening parts of the spinal column to reduce back pain for patients affected by multiple diseases. At the BITE group, we are developing a novel drill that allows for the surgeon to steer through the bone along a secure drilling trajectory, avoiding nerves and blood vessels that run along the spinal column.
To help the surgeon find and maintain the right trajectory, an optical sensing system based on Diffuse Reflectance Spectroscopy (DRS) will be integrated into the drill to differentiate the tissue ahead of the tool tip, thereby providing positional feedback for the surgeon in real time.
In the scope of the proposed graduation project, a bone tissue-simulating phantom will be designed that mimics both mechanical and optical properties of human bone. This phantom will allow for mechanical testing of the steerable drill, as well as for optical testing of the sensing system. Eventually, it will also provide a training environment where surgeons can become accustomed to the novel tool.
This assignment will be available from March/April 2021. Interested? Contact Merle Losch, firstname.lastname@example.org.