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  • £6.1m EPSRC Funds for Improving Ultrasonic Surgery

£6.1m EPSRC Funds for Improving Ultrasonic Surgery

Jan 24 2019 Read 333 Times

Over the next five years the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grant will support joint efforts by the Universities of Glasgow, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds and Southampton in the development of existing ultrasonic technologies to ensure they are widely adopted for complex, robot-assisted surgery.

Already in use in surgery, the full potential of ultrasonic technologies has still to be realised with research turning to development of miniaturised ultrasonic tools relying on different principles to excite the surgical tip. Miniaturisation is possible because of new dynamic structures for the tips and emerging piezocrystal materials with much higher energy density.

The devices will be delivered deep into the human body by the tentacles of new surgical robots. This will enable minimally-invasive surgeries, offering high precision, low force, low temperature and better preservation of delicate tissue structures. Ultimately, this will allow more procedures to be carried out in out-patient clinics or with day surgery.

Margaret Lucas, Professor of Ultrasonics, of the University of Glasgow’s School of Engineering and the principal investigator on the project, said: “Many benefits will be delivered from new forms of ultrasonic tools. Traditional tools require surgeons to use high forces to cut through bone, for example, where an ultrasonic tool can be tuned to produce an effortless cut.

“That tuning process also ensures that the ultrasonic device can be tissue selective, able to cut through one tissue without damage to others.

“Currently, ultrasonic surgical devices suffer from a lack of understanding of the beneficial and damaging effects of high power ultrasonic vibrations interacting with tissue. My interdisciplinary research team of Engineers and Clinicians will overcome this by relating cell and tissue responses to the motion of ultrasound via ultra-high-speed imaging. The new understanding will aid the design of revolutionary new tools.”

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