A team of engineers from the CEIT-IK4 technological centre and doctors from the University Hospital of Navarra have designed a new tool for operating on the inner ear with maximum precision, reducing the possibility of damage to the auditory function during the surgery.
This is the first micromanipulator specifically for operations involving cochlear and middle ear implants, of which about a hundred are carried out in this hospital annually. Taking part in developing the new tool were four engineers from CEIT and five ear, nose and throat specialists from the University Hospital of Navarra.
The new technique was presented at the XI International Symposium on Cochlear Implants, organised by the Department of Otorhinolaryngology (ENT) at the University Hospital of Navarra, attended by 200 specialists from all over the world.
The micromanipulator, patented by the University of Navarra, is a surgical working tool the aim of which is to aid the surgeon in those situations involving very small dimensions and which are highly sensitive – such as the inner ear, the size of which is less than the nail of a forefinger.
Working with precision in such a small space and with such a delicate structure is highly complicated. The micromanipulator enables operating with precision in spaces of these small dimensions, working in tandem with auditory surgical microinstruments. In short, the micromanipulator is a tool for working with the inner ear in a precision manner, without affecting its function.
This micromanipulator has two parts. One of these is anchored to the temporal bone of the patient, its function being to act as support for a series of elements which go together with the milling tool. The surgeon makes a hole in the temporal bone with this tool, in order to gain access to the inner ear. In the centre of this second series of elements is a small metallic part the behaviour of which is flexible and this device provides the surgeon with greater control and precision on milling, making up for the vibrations of the hand itself.
Taken from www.basqueresearch.com/berria_irakurri.asp?Berri_Kod=2599&hizk=I.