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Optical guide keeps orthopaedic procedures on target

24 February 2016

Doctors and engineers from the Hebrew University have created an opto-electronic drilling system that monitors guide-wire trajectory during orthopaedic surgery.

The opto-electronic drilling system detects minute changes in guide-wire trajectory during surgery (photo: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Common orthopaedic procedures, such as hip and pelvic fracture surgery as well as spinal fusion, require the accurate positioning of a thin metallic wire to guide the positioning of a fixating screw. However, the surgical procedure is often hampered by deflection, bending and even breakage of the guide-wire, which then requires repair while complicating and prolonging the recovery of patients.

“This is a significant challenge”, says Professor Meir Liebergall, head of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Hadassah Medical Center, “as complications in guide-wire positioning could lead to revision surgeries and increase hospitalisation time and cost.” To address this challenge, Professor Liebergall partnered with a multidisciplinary team of medical doctors, along with engineering and business students, from The Hebrew University's BioDesign: Medical Innovation programme.

Their solution: by creating a system that provides real-time indication of deflection or bending of the guide-wire, the surgeon will be able to adjust the procedure before damage occurs.

The team subsequently developed 'BendGuide', an opto-electronic drilling system that monitors and detects minute changes in guide-wire trajectory during surgery. It allows surgeons to correct drilling trajectories during the procedure itself. The system eliminates guide-wire bending or breakage and significantly reduces operation time and safety.

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