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Design Innovation Paper

Bioinspired Spring-Loaded Biopsy Harvester—Experimental Prototype Design and Feasibility Tests

[+] Author and Article Information
Filip Jelínek

BioMechanical Engineering Department,
Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and
Materials Engineering,
Delft University of Technology,
Mekelweg 2,
Delft 2628 CD, Netherlands
e-mail: f.jelinek@tudelft.nl

Gerwin Smit

BioMechanical Engineering Department,
Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and
Materials Engineering,
Delft University of Technology,
Mekelweg 2,
Delft 2628 CD, Netherlands
e-mail: g.smit@tudelft.nl

Paul Breedveld

BioMechanical Engineering Department,
Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and
Materials Engineering,
Delft University of Technology,
Mekelweg 2,
Delft 2628 CD, Netherlands
e-mail: p.breedveld@tudelft.nl

Manuscript received June 13, 2013; final manuscript received December 16, 2013; published online January 20, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Rosaire Mongrain.

J. Med. Devices 8(1), 015002 (Jan 20, 2014) (6 pages) Paper No: MED-13-1157; doi: 10.1115/1.4026449 History: Received June 13, 2013; Revised December 16, 2013

Current minimally invasive laparoscopic tissue–harvesting techniques for pathological purposes involve taking multiple imprecise and inaccurate biopsies, usually using a laparoscopic forceps or other assistive devices. Potential hazards, e.g., cancer spread when dealing with tumorous tissue, call for a more reliable alternative in the form of a single laparoscopic instrument capable of repeatedly taking a precise biopsy at a desired location. Therefore, the aim of this project was to design a disposable laparoscopic instrument tip, incorporating a centrally positioned glass fiber for tissue diagnostics; a cutting device for fast, accurate, and reliable biopsy of a precisely defined volume; and a container suitable for sample storage. Inspired by the sea urchin's chewing organ, Aristotle's lantern, and its capability of rapid and simultaneous tissue incision and enclosure by axial translation, we designed a crown-shaped collapsible cutter operating on a similar basis. Based on a series of in vitro experiments indicating that tissue deformation decreases with increasing penetration speed leading to a more precise biopsy, we decided on the cutter's forward propulsion via a spring. Apart from the embedded spring-loaded cutter, the biopsy harvester comprises a smart mechanism for cutter preloading, locking, and actuation, as well as a sample container. A real-sized biopsy harvester prototype was developed and tested in a universal tensile testing machine at TU Delft. In terms of mechanical functionality, the preloading, locking, and actuation mechanism as well as the cutter's rapid incising and collapsing capabilities proved to work successfully in vitro. Further division of the tip into a permanent and a disposable segment will enable taking of multiple biopsies, mutually separated in individual containers. We believe the envisioned laparoscopic optomechanical biopsy device will be a solution ameliorating time-demanding, inaccurate, and potentially unsafe laparoscopic biopsy procedures.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Examples of contemporary biopsy techniques including (a) fine-needle aspiration, (b) core-needle biopsy, and (c) punch biopsy; adopted from Ref. [8]

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Fig. 2

Examples of laparoscopic optomechanical biopsy tip concepts patented by (a) Sharon et al. [17], (b) Whitehead et al. [18], and (c) Lacombe et al. [19]

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Fig. 3

The means of achieving minimal tissue deformation during frontal tissue penetration (compensation force, upward and sideways arrows, is described relative to the cutting-force vector, downward arrows)

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Fig. 4

Sea urchin's chewing organ, Aristotle's lantern—left—providing an inspiration to the biopsy harvester's crown-shaped collapsible cutter (collapsed—center, at rest—right)

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Fig. 5

Close-up of the pilot test setup, left, and the results of the in vitro push-in tests, right, performed with the crown-cutter on a chicken liver at push-in speeds 6, 12, 24, and 48 mm/s. For clarity, the data are presented from the penetration depth of 4 mm onwards, and they are fitted with exponential curves for easy comparison.

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Fig. 6

Exploded view of the spring-loaded biopsy harvester design with its 14 components (A–N), showing their mutual axial alignment

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Fig. 7

Assembled biopsy harvester prototype manufactured nearly at real-scale, Ø 6 mm, (top) also showing a fully closed crown-cutter (inset). Intermediate assembly (bottom) shows the outer shell, the assembled inner working mechanism, and the glass-fiber dummy.

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Fig. 8

High-speed camera snapshots of the rapid cutting process performed in 0.8 milliseconds

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Fig. 9

Close-up of the Bowden cable-driven biopsy harvester testing setup, left, and the results of the in vitro cutting tests on a chicken liver, right, illustrating the forces exerted on the cutter during the rapid cutting process

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Fig. 10

Clean-cut conical biopsies of a chicken liver made with the bioinspired biopsy harvester

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