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Design of a Tool Integrating Force Sensing With Automated Insertion in Cochlear Implantation

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5 Author(s)
Schurzig, D. ; Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville, TN, USA ; Labadie, R.F. ; Hussong, A. ; Rau, T.S.
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The quality of hearing restored to a deaf patient by a cochlear implant in hearing preservation cochlear implant surgery (and possibly also in routine cochlear implant surgery) is believed to depend on preserving delicate cochlear membranes while accurately inserting an electrode array deep into the spiral cochlea. Membrane rupture forces, and possibly, other indicators of suboptimal placement, are below the threshold detectable by human hands, motivating a force sensing insertion tool. Furthermore, recent studies have shown significant variability in manual insertion forces and velocities that may explain some instances of imperfect placement. Toward addressing this, an automated insertion tool was recently developed by Hussong et al. By following the same insertion tool concept, in this paper, we present mechanical enhancements that improve the surgeon's interface with the device and make it smaller and lighter. We also present electomechanical design of new components enabling integrated force sensing. The tool is designed to be sufficiently compact and light that it can be mounted to a microstereotactic frame for accurate image-guided preinsertion positioning. The new integrated force sensing system is capable of resolving forces as small as 0.005 N, and we provide experimental illustration of using forces to detect errors in electrode insertion.

Published in:

Mechatronics, IEEE/ASME Transactions on  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 2 )