EasyScope

Affordable 3D Printed Laparoscopic Surgical Tool for Low Resource Settings

 

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Membership level
2018-2019 Team
Team Name
EasyScope
Project Title
Affordable 3D Printed Laparoscopic Surgical Tool for Low Resource Settings
Design Challenge
Laparoscopic surgery, also known as minimally invasive surgery, is a surgical procedure in which small incisions are made on the abdomen to examine and operate on organ systems. Laparoscopic surgery has revolutionized medical surgery by reducing the recovery time and the risk of infection that usually comes from conventional surgical techniques. In developing countries, however, access to laparoscopic tools is limited; these tools are extremely expensive and poorly maintained. Since technicians in low resource environments do not have the apparatuses necessary to fix these tools, laparoscopic instruments are often discarded and laparoscopic surgery cannot be performed.

Our overall goal as Global Health Technology senior design students is to create a laparoscopic grasper that is low-cost, durable, easily maintainable, and sterilizable in a low-resource setting.
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Design Summary
Laparoscopic surgery, a minimally invasive surgery, is a surgical procedure in which small incisions are made on the abdomen to examine and operate on organ systems. In developing countries, access to laparoscopic tools is limited; tools are extremely expensive and poorly maintained. A lack of technicians, spare parts, and in-country manufacturers renders standard metal tools inoperable and worthless. Our goal was to create a laparoscopic grasper that is low-cost, durable, easily maintainable, and sterilizable in a low-resource setting.

Laparoscopic tools can be classified into three essential instruments: scissors, graspers, and needle drivers. Each tool can be subdivided into three parts: the handle, the shaft, and the tip. Furthermore, each tool must perform two necessary functions for surgery: grasping and cauterization. For our final prototyping, our team focused on recreating a grasper because of its ubiquity. We engineered disposable tips that connect to a reusable shaft and handle, eliminating the need for sterilization or repairing misaligned tips. Since each instrument has the same mechanism for translating movement from handle to tip, the tips from any tool can be interchanged, improving versatility. Our prototype costs $18.

SolidWorks was used to CAD design tips that are cheap, replaceable, and accessible. Various iterations were printed using the MakerGear, Form2, Ultimaker, and Markforged 3D printers. Additionally, different resins were experimented with such as PLA, black, rigid, flexible, and carbon fiber to test flexibility and durability of the tips. Currently, the tips are printed on Markforged using onyx filament and the handles are printed on MakerGear using PLA. Threading connects the tips to an inner shaft made of stainless steel and the inner shaft to a 3D printed handle. The inner shaft is then encased in an outer shaft made from electrical-insulating garolite. The handle of the tool is pulled to close the tips and pushed to open the tips. Additionally, the tips can be fully rotated using a special gear mechanism.

Currently, our grasper can successfully complete multiple sessions of Simulab at the Baylor College of Medicine. A session in Simulab consists of two tasks: transferring blocks from one peg to another and grabbing 12 inch string at specific locations. Our tool has demonstrated strong grasping power, lifting more than 200 grams and gripping onto flesh-like material such as salmon and chicken breast. All the subcomponents of our device can be removed, replaced, reused, and sterilized. Additionally, a separate prototype was created to perform cauterization. This device reaches temperatures up to 137 degrees Celsius.

Future work includes synthesizing a cauterization system within the current device and redesigning the handle for increased ergonomics. Lastly, we plan to continue testing in Simulab with various experienced and unexperienced users.

Last Updated: 4/23/19
Date Updated
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Sponsors
BCM-INSTINCT
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Department(s)
  • Global Health Technologies
Faculty Advisor 1 - Name
Maria Oden
Faculty Advisor 1 - Department
  • BIOE
  • RICE 360
Faculty Advisor 2 - Name
Devika Varma
Faculty Advisor 2 - Department
  • BIOE
  • RICE 360
Client First Name
Rachel
Client Last Name
Davis
Client Company/Organization
Baylor College of Medicine
Award(s) and Recognition
Excellence in Capstone Engineering Design Award at 2019 Engineering Design Showcase
Winner
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