Ultrasound surgery

Surgeons could one day use miniature ultrasonic cutting devices to perform minimally invasive procedures on delicate areas of the body such as the spine.

The devices are being developed by researchers from three UK universities through a programme supported by Mectron Medical Technology and Sonic Systems. The goal of the three-year effort is to create a new kind of transducer that does not operate in resonance.

By accomplishing this the team will be able to shrink the size of current ultrasonic cutting instruments, said Margaret Lucas, a mechanical engineer from Glasgow University, one of the participants in the EPSRC-funded project.

Glasgow University was previously involved in the development of an ultrasonic scalpel for upper jaw surgery, which was commercialised by Mectron Medical Technology three years ago. The tool, while effective for jaw surgeries, is now being refined for use in delicate areas such as the spine.

Current ultrasonic cutting devices consist of a Langevin piezoelectric transducer attached to a cutting blade that is tuned to resonate in a longitudinal mode at a low ultrasonic frequency usually in the 20-50kHz range.

Source: theengineer.co.ukAdded: 15 July 2009