Inroads Toward Robot-Assisted Internal Fixation of Bone Fractures Using a Bendable Medical Screw and the Curved Drilling Technique

by   Farshid Alambeigi, et al.

Internal fixation is a common orthopedic procedure in which a rigid screw is used to fix fragments of a fractured bone together and expedite the healing process. However, the rigidity of the screw, geometry of the fractured anatomy (e.g. femur and pelvis), and patient age can cause an array of complications during screw placement, such as improper fracture healing due to misalignment of the bone fragments, lengthy procedure time and subsequently high radiation exposure. To address these issues, we propose a minimally invasive robot-assisted procedure comprising of a continuum robot, called ortho-snake, together with a novel bendable medical screw (BMS) for fixating the fractures. We describe the implementation of a curved drilling technique and focus on the design, manufacturing, and evaluation of a novel BMS, which can passively morph into the drilled curved tunnels with various curvatures. We evaluate the performance and efficacy of the proposed BMS using both finite element simulations as well as experiments conducted on synthetic bone samples.



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