Combined OCT distance and FBG force sensing cannulation needle for retinal vein cannulation: in vivo animal validation

Abstract

Purpose

Retinal vein cannulation is an experimental procedure during which a clot-dissolving drug is injected into an obstructed retinal vein. However, due to the fragility and minute size of retinal veins, such procedure is considered too risky to perform manually. With the aid of surgical robots, key limiting factors such as: unwanted eye rotations, hand tremor and instrument immobilization can be tackled. However, local instrument anatomy distance and force estimation remain unresolved issues. A reliable, real-time local interaction estimation between instrument tip and the retina could be a solution. This paper reports on the development of a combined force and distance sensing cannulation needle, and its experimental validation during in vivo animal trials.

Methods

Two prototypes are reported, relying on force and distance measurements based on FBG and OCT A-scan fibres, respectively. Both instruments provide an 80 \(\upmu \hbox {m}\) needle tip and have outer shaft diameters of 0.6 and 2.3 mm, respectively.

Results

Both prototypes were characterized and experimentally validated ex vivo. Then, paired with a previously developed surgical robot, in vivo experimental validation was performed. The first prototype successfully demonstrated the feasibility of using a combined force and distance sensing instrument in an in vivo setting.

Conclusion

The results demonstrate the feasibility of deploying a combined sensing instrument in an in vivo setting. The performed study provides a foundation for further work on real-time local modelling of the surgical scene. This paper provides initial insights; however, additional processing remains necessary.

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Funding

This research was funded by the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation-Horizon 2020 (No. 645331) and an SB Fellowship of the Research Foundation-Flanders (1S41517N).

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Correspondence to M. Ourak.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors. All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

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Ourak, M., Smits, J., Esteveny, L. et al. Combined OCT distance and FBG force sensing cannulation needle for retinal vein cannulation: in vivo animal validation. Int J CARS 14, 301–309 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11548-018-1829-0

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Keywords

  • Retinal vein cannulation
  • Cannulation needle
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Fibre Bragg grating
  • Surgical robotics