Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Surgical instruments with electronic serial numbers

Date:
March 1, 2011
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Gone are the days of having to compromise on surgeons' demands because of the limitations associated with metal processing: Laser melting has abolished production-related restrictions on surgical instruments. The technique permits customized tools to be manufactured in a single step and also allows the integration of additional new functions such as RFID. Researchers have now developed a surgical instrument with an integrated electronic chip.

Surgical instruments with electronic serial numbers.
Credit: Image courtesy of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Gone are the days of having to compromise on surgeons' demands because of the limitations associated with metal processing: Laser melting has abolished production-related restrictions on surgical instruments. The technique permits customized tools to be manufactured in a single step and also allows the integration of additional new functions such as RFID. Researchers from the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft will be exhibiting a surgical instrument with an integrated electronic chip at this year's MEDTEC Europe trade show in Stuttgart.

Be it a heart transplant or a Cesarean section, every operation requires a wide variety of surgical instruments, from simple retractors, clamps, scalpels and scissors to more specialist devices such as cerclage wire passers, which surgeons employ to repair long, oblique fractures in bones. These are shaped in such a way as to half encircle the broken bone, and incorporate a hollow channel. In a process not unlike stringing a parcel for posting, thread or wire is fed through the channel around the damaged bone and then knotted in place, both to support the bone and to hold the broken parts together. "Until now, it has always been time-consuming and expensive to manufacture surgical instruments featuring this kind of channel," says Claus Aumund-Kopp of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Bremen. Because it is nigh-on impossible to machine curved channels, shaped tubes have traditionally had to be cast, or else welded or soldered retrospectively.

At the MEDTEC Europe trade show in Stuttgart from March 22 through 24, the Bremen-based scientists will be presenting a technique that enables the manufacture of surgical instruments of any shape, even those with complex interiors like channels, or those with integrated RFID chips. The technique in question is laser melting. Originally developed for the production of industrial prototypes, this manufacturing method uses an extremely fine laser beam to melt a powder material into almost any desired form, one layer at a time.

"Nowadays, laser melting is a mature technology, which has already proved its worth in the manufacture of medical implants," states Aumund-Kopp. Like all generative -- i.e. bottom-up -- manufacturing techniques, it has two major advantages: First, unlike in turning, drilling or milling, hardly any material is wasted; and second, there are no production-related restrictions on the shape or interior structure of the workpiece. "The designer can focus exclusively on the surgeon's stated requirements," says the engineer. For surgical instruments, either cobalt-chromium steel or titanium powders could be used -- both are standard materials in generative manufacturing. Although no-one has yet begun using the laser melting technique to produce surgical instruments, Aumund-Kopp believes it would be an ideal manufacturing method: "Even small quantities of customized surgical instruments incorporating completely new functions could easily be produced in this way," he reports. 3-dimensional model on a computer is the only template needed; intermediate stages, including the production of special tools or casting molds, are eliminated.

Steel components that are produced using laser melting technology also demonstrate particular electrical properties. Normally, metals shield against electromagnetic radiation such as radio waves, so whenever an RFID chip is cast in metal, a small opening must be left above it, otherwise it will not be readable. But this is not necessary with laser-melted instruments; even though they are completely shrouded in metal, the integrated RFID chips are still able to transmit and receive over short distances. "We assume that the layered structure of the material shapes the field in such a way that the chips remain readable despite their metal covering," explains Aumund-Kopp. This could prove advantageous in the operating room: After every operation, all surgical instruments have to be cleaned, sterilized and counted; if they had integrated RFID chips, quantities and individual numerical codes could be checked quickly and easily and could be electronically linked to the operation report or to specific instrument data such as date of manufacture, protocols for use or current state of cleanliness.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Surgical instruments with electronic serial numbers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110228104314.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2011, March 1). Surgical instruments with electronic serial numbers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110228104314.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Surgical instruments with electronic serial numbers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110228104314.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 23, 2014) The WHO has warned up to 20,000 people could be infected with Ebola over the next few weeks. As Sonia Legg reports, the implications for the West African countries suffering from the disease are huge. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

AFP (Sep. 23, 2014) The number of Ebola infections will triple to 20,000 by November, soaring by thousands every week if efforts to stop the outbreak are not stepped up radically, the WHO warned in a study on Tuesday. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) No surprise here: A recent study says men can reduce their risk of heart attack by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes daily exercise. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins