Category Archives: Assignments

Design of a steerable fiber-optic device

Various diseases can require patients to undergo spine surgery. At the BITE group, we are developing a novel drill that allows for the surgeon to steer through the vertebra 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, a fiber-optic sensing system will be integrated into the drill to provide the surgeon with positional feedback in real time.

In the scope of the proposed graduation project, inspiration will be drawn from nature to design a steerable fiber-optic device. A scale model will be fabricated by rapid prototyping, and its usability for steering through the vertebra will be assessed.

Interested? Contact Merle Losch, m.s.losch@tudelft.nl.

navigation for steerable bone drill

Multiple diseases can require patients to undergo spine surgery. 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 surgical navigation concept for the steerable bone drill will be developed, and its usability for guidance will be assessed.

Interested? Contact Merle Losch, m.s.losch@tudelft.nl.

Novel “Tattoo”-based instrumentation for Dupuytren’s contracture surgery (CLOSED)

The hand is one of the most complex structures of the human body, allowing an advanced spectrum of motion. Dupuytren’s contracture, or Dupuytren’s disease, is an abnormal thickening of the palmar fascia, just below the skin of the palm of the hand, which impairs the motion of the finger tendons, leading to loss of finger function and causing the fingers to curl.

Surgical treatment of Dupuytren’s contracture involves making an incision through the thickened palmar tissue which is then partially removed. As the hand anatomy is very delicate, with a fine network of blood vessels and small nerves leading to the fingers, there is a risk of severe complications, especially when fragile nerves under the palmar fascia are accidentally cut.

This MSc-graduation project involves the development of novel high-tech “tattoo”-based instrumentation for Dupuytren’s contracture surgery by which the risk of damaging delicate palmar structures can be totally avoided. The project will be carried out in a very close collaboration with hand surgeons from the Reinier Haga Orthopedic Center (RHOC). We are searching for a student that can start at a short term with this challenging and very interesting graduation project.

Interested? Please contact Paul Breedveld, p.breedveld@tudelft.nl

Design of a Bone Marrow Harvesting Device

Bone marrow is a soft and fatty tissue located within the porous bone structure at the centre of the larger bones. During bone marrow biopsies, also called trephine biopsies, a 1-2 cm long sample of the bone and bone marrow is taken to check, amongst others, for blood cell abnormalities. A Jamshidi needle is used to collect the bone marrow by pushing the needle through the rigid cortical outer layer of the bone such that it will be located within the softer cancellous bone. During retrieval of the needle, the biopsy sample sometimes remains inside the incision. This requires manual removal of the sample using forceps, and possibly a second biopsy has to be taken.

During this project, you would first look into current instruments used to perform a bone marrow biopsy after which you will design a novel device that could be used for harvesting bone marrow samples.

Interested? Contact Esther de Kater, e.p.dekater@tudelft.nl

Variable Friction Catheter

In cardiovascular interventions, Catheters are typically inserted in the radial or femoral artery and are navigated through the arteries to the heart, where the interventions are performed.  In order to safely reach the heart,  catheters  (and guidewires) used during these procedures need to be able to easily follow the curves in the  vascular  system,  while  creating  as  little  friction  as  possible to avoid damaging the blood vessel inner wall.  While low friction is beneficial during navigation, it makes holding the catheter at a specific location in open spaces, such as inside the heart, difficult during the execution of the surgical procedure. Thus, it limits the force transmission capability of the catheter. In this project, we look forward to developing a new variable friction catheter which can be modulated to have low friction while navigating and high friction while performing the surgical task to ensure optimal performance and outcomes in both cases.

The assignment is currently available with compatible literature review assignments. Interested? Contact Mostafa Atalla: m.a.a.atalla@tudelft.nl  

Wasp Inspired Steerable Bone Drill

Parasitoid wasps can drill through relatively hard material such as wood with their ovipositor, a very thin structure through which the wasp transports its eggs. The ovipositor consists of three valves that slide one-by-one deeper in the wood to drill. Not only can the parasitoid wasp drill with this very thin structure through hard material but the wasp is also able to steer during drilling. It is still not fully known how the wasp can do this, but there are multiple hypotheses. Multiple steerable needles were designed based on the wasp ovipositor. The goal of this graduation project is to design a steerable wasp inspired bone drill.

Interested? Contact Esther de Kater: E.P.deKater@tudelft.nl

Entry point detection for spinal fusion surgery (CLOSED)

Multiple diseases can require patients to undergo spine surgery. At the BITE group, we are developing a novel probe 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 probe 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 probe prototype will be designed that enables the surgeon to sense the correct entry point for spine drilling procedures. Its usability for guidance will be assessed through drilling tests on a bone phantom/ex-vivo animal bone.

This assignment will be available from September 2021. Interested? Contact Esther de Kater, e.p.dekater@tudelft.nl or Merle Losch, m.s.losch@tudelft.nl.

Design of an Ultrasound-Enhanced Needle

Needles are an integral part of many medical procedures nowadays. In prostate cancer ablation procedures, for example, surgeons insert a needle into the prostate tumor with image guidance to deliver the treatment fiber to the cancerous tissue. Needle insertion is not, however, a simple task and requires precision localization to reach the target accurately. Furthermore, minimal insertion forces are required to preserve the tissue that the needle is penetrating. In nature, some wasp and mosquito species are able to move a needle-like structure in substrates using a vibrating motion, this vibrating motion is thought to reduce the frictional force during the penetration process. In this graduation project, we look forward to developing an ultrasound-enhanced needle to minimize the effect of the friction forces acting on the needle, thus increasing the positioning accuracy and minimizing the tissue damage due to penetration.

The assignment is available from October 2021. Interested? Contact Jette Bloemberg: j.bloemberg@tudelft.nl or Mostafa Atalla: m.a.a.atalla@tudelft.nl.

Design of a Smart Surgical Knife (CLOSED)

Lumpectomy is the preferred surgical treatment for women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. At this stage, the cancerous tissue only forms a small portion of the breast and during lumpectomy, the surgeon removes this portion of the breast along with some surrounded healthy tissue to assure the complete resection of the tumor and meanwhile satisfactory cosmetic outcomes. On the surgical side, the tumor and healthy breast tissue cannot always be clearly distinguished, making it difficult for the surgeon to determine where to dissect the tissue. Difficulty in detecting the border of the tumor in lumpectomy can result in incomplete tumor resection which only can be determined by histopathological investigation of the excised specimens after the surgery. In this case, the treatment of the patient may continue with a re-excision surgery or extra chemotherapy. Using an intraoperative margin assessment technique during lumpectomy could help the surgeon with detecting the border of the tumor and distinguish it from the breast’s healthy tissue. Among different type of techniques, diffused reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) has recently become known as a promising tumor detection technique and has been widely studied for its application in this field. Recently we studied the possibility of integrating an electrosurgical knife with a DRS system to provide the surgeon with real-time oncological guidance during the lumpectomy. To find the optimum design of the smart surgical knife we are looking for an enthusiastic MSc student who can come up with creative design ideas.

If you are interested in designing surgical instruments and preferably have a background in mechanical design, then you are the right person for this MSc project/assignment.  For more information please contact Sara Azizian Amiri, s.azizianamiri@tudelft.nl.

Design of a bone phantom (CLOSED)

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, m.s.losch@tudelft.nl.