On the Use of a Continuum Manipulator and a Bendable Medical Screw for Minimally Invasive Interventions in Orthopedic Surgery

Farshid Alambeigi , Member, IEEE, Mahsan Bakhtiarinejad, Member, IEEE, Shahriar Sefati, Member, IEEE, Rachel Hegeman, Iulian Iordachita, Senior Member, IEEE, Harpal Khanuja, and Mehran Armand

Abstract: Accurate placement and stable fixation are the main goals of internal fixation of bone fractures using the traditional medical screws. These goals are necessary to expedite and avoid improper fracture healing due to misalignment of the bone fragments. However, the rigidity of the screw, geometry of the fractured anatomy (e.g., femur and pelvis), and osteoporosis may cause an array of complications. To address these challenges, we propose the use of a continuum manipulator and a bendable medical screw (BMS) to drill curved tunnels and fixate the bone fragments. This novel approach provides the clinicians with a degree of freedom in selecting the drilling entry point as well as the navigation of drill in complex anatomical and osteoporotic bones. This technique can also facilitate the treatment of osteonecrosis and augmentation of the hip to prevent osteoporotic fractures. In this paper: 1) we evaluated the performance of the curved drilling technique on human cadaveric specimens by making several curved tunnels with different curvatures and 2) we also demonstrated the feasibility of internal fixation using the BMS versus a rigid straight screw by performing finite element simulation of fracture fixation in an osteoporotic femur.

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