Vibration-assisted slicing of soft tissue for biopsy procedures

[+] Author and Article Information
Marco Giovannini

Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208

Xingsheng Wang

College of Engineering, Nanjing Agricultural University, 40 Dianjiangtai Road, Nanjing 210031, China

Jian Cao

Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208

Kornel Ehmann

Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4040635 History: Received July 10, 2017; Revised May 31, 2018


Skin cancer represents one of the most common forms of cancer in the United States. This and other skin disorders can be effectively diagnosed by performing a punch biopsy to obtain full-thickness skin specimens. The quality of the skin samples depends from the forces exerted by the punch cannula during the cutting process. The reduction of these forces is critical in the extraction of high quality tissue samples from the patient. During the skin biopsy, the biopsy punch (BP) is advanced into the lesion while it is rotated clockwise and counterclockwise generating, therefore, a rotary vibrational motion. No previous studies analyze whether this motion is effective in soft tissue cutting and if it could be improved. In this paper, the BP procedure is investigated in detail. First, the steady cutting motion of the BP is analyzed. Then, the superimposition of several vibrational motions onto the rotary motion of the BP is investigated. A analytical models, based on a fracture mechanics approach, are adopted to predict the cutting forces. Experimental studies are performed on phantom tissue to demonstrate that the application of vibrational motions can lead to the reduction of cutting forces. The outcome of this study can benefit several clinical procedures in which a cannula device is adopted to cut and collect soft tissue samples.

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