Compact MRI in Surgery
How does the device work?
MRI is an indispensable tool to help diagnose health issues and to peer into the inner working of a human body. The next obvious step is to use the 3D images generated by these machines to guide the tools and instruments of surgery. The six-degrees-of-freedom parallel manipulator (Stewart Platform) is a system where the stationary platform is connected to the moving platform (tool holder) through six identical cylinders with spherical joints at both ends is one such system. This system is able to achieve thrust, in- plane displacement and tip/tilt, twist or any path imaginable by simply manipulating the stroke length of the six cylinders.
This equipment combines the dexterity of a surgeon’s hands with the precision of the computer-controlled system guided by MRI images. In addition, the mechanical simplicity of the Stewart platform enable advantages over traditional robotic systems by 1) the entire system can be designed using only MRI compatible parts, 2) the stroke of the cylinders are achieved using hydraulic so electrical or magnetic interference associated with traditional robotic system that would interfere with the operation of the MRI is eliminated and 3) the design can be compactly fit within the confines of a MRI while maintaining the complete range of motion necessary to perform delicate surgical procedure.
What problem in healthcare does it solve?
Surgeries are extremely perilous and recovery from a surgery can sometime be more difficult than the original ailment the surgery is meant to cure. To improve the recovery rate, more and more surgeries are attempting to be minimally invasive, but serious gains can be made if surgeries are interactively guided by images produced by MRI. However, due to space restriction inside the MRI machines and incompatibilities of most traditional equipment with MRI, the MRI imagining and procedure cannot be completed on site. This device will allow the procedure to be performed concurrently with the MRI imaging so both the procedure will be more accurate and can be verified in place.
Why should the device be commercialized?
This device should be developed and commercialized because it could potentially reduce medical costs as well as eliminate unnecessary pain and suffering of many patients. Stewart platform is a unique but well understood mechanical system used to solve many complicated manipulation needs and can be easily modify to meet the special needs of compact MRI compatible manipulator to aid in many surgeries.
What inspired you to design this device?
I am engineer by trade and constantly looking to make things work better.