Design Innovation Paper

Innovative Design of an Automatic Acupoint Catgut-Embedding Instrument

[+] Author and Article Information
Chin-Hsing Kuo

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
National Taiwan University of Science and Technology,
43, Section 4, Keelung Road,
Taipei 106, Taiwan
e-mail: chkuo717@mail.ntust.edu.tw

Chun-Wen Wang

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
National Taiwan University of Science and Technology,
43, Section 4, Keelung Road,
Taipei 106, Taiwan

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received September 3, 2016; final manuscript received December 18, 2016; published online January 25, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Venketesh Dubey.

J. Med. Devices 11(1), 015001 (Jan 25, 2017) (8 pages) Paper No: MED-16-1313; doi: 10.1115/1.4035689 History: Received September 03, 2016; Revised December 18, 2016

Acupoint catgut-embedding (ACE) therapy is a type of acupuncture surgery that combines concepts of traditional Chinese medicine with modern medical instruments. The therapy involves using a hypodermic needle and an acupuncture needle to embed 1-cm long catgut segments in an acupoint, enabling the catgut to perform long-term stimulation of the acupoint and achieve the effects of acupuncture treatment. Each therapy process requires numerous repetitions of the same steps, and each needle set can only be used to embed one catgut segment. Additionally, doctors must perform this surgical procedure by hand; no automatic auxiliary instrument has been developed to date. To address these problems, this paper proposes an innovative design of the first automatic ACE auxiliary instrument in the world. The instrument could assist doctors to complete the ACE steps. And it neither requires a battery or external electric power nor changes needles during therapy. The study first involved designing the mechanism and embodiment for the instrument, enabling it to perform one catgut-embedding procedure in only two steps with the repeated use of one needle set. We then created the prototype and tested its functionality in terms of the success rate of catgut cutting, average length of catgut segments, the success rate of needle insertion and acupoint range, and the success rates of catgut insertion and catgut embedding. The results showed that the prototype did conform to our design goals, but the success rates of catgut cutting and catgut insertion could be further enhanced.

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Fig. 1

Acupoint catgut-embedding (ACE) therapy

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Fig. 2

Instrumentation set for ACE therapy

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Fig. 3

The five steps for ACE therapy

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Fig. 4

Mechanism concept of the proposed automatic ACE instrument: (a) catgut-fedding mechanism and (b) catgut-embedding mechanism

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Fig. 5

Motion sequence of the catgut-feeding and -cutting mechanism: (a) catgut fedding, (b) catgut cutting, and (c) return

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Fig. 6

Embodiment design of the innovative ACE instrument

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Fig. 7

Exploded view of the innovative ACE instrument

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Fig. 8

Positions of the axes of catgut insertion and the catgut-embedding driver

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Fig. 9

Cross sections of the upper frame and needle seat

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Fig. 10

Cross sections of the two specific planes in the frame: (a) on plane 1 and (b) on plane1

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Fig. 11

Orientation-reversing design

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Fig. 12

Funnel-shaped needle guide

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Fig. 13

Prototype of the proposed automatic ACE instrument

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Fig. 14

Results of the catgut cutting tests

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Fig. 15

Results of the catgut-feeding length tests: (a) catgut segment (unit: cm) and (b) statistical diagram of catgut segment lengths

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Fig. 16

Steps for the acupuncture needle insertion test

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Fig. 17

Measurement for the needle insertion point

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Fig. 18

Results of the acupuncture needle insertion point test



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